Know what to do if you want remarkable Rioja or spectacular sauvignon blanc?
Of course you do, you look for aged versions of the first and head for the southern hemisphere for the second.
Well, I have a couple of alternative plans for you today.
Normally, I accept, the face of successful Rioja you see involves smooth, complex and carefully matured red wines.
However, this post’s Top Tip red heaps praise on a youthful, light, energetic and (above all) inexpensive “Joven”.
Pursuing the same “alternatives” theme, the versions of sauvignon blanc usually featured on sites like this are from the new world.
Not today though.
The white being recommended here is from a region that does great things with sauvignon but is seldom recognised for it.
Emerging then, after a suitable drumroll, is … Bordeaux.
Enjoy both wines, they are not only tasty but also well priced.
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
Starting with that Rioja
2022 Espartero Rioja Joven (£5.50 at Asda and 14% abv.):
Not much dazzles at this price, but this is a decent lively and fruity Spanish red.
Joven (as in “juvenile”) means it is young wine and without Rioja’s usual oak maturation.
Consequently, it is less complex and smooth than, say, Crianza but compensates by being lighter and fresher.
Understandably, then, this has relatively modest texture but still offers firm yet undemanding plum, tobacco and red cherry flavours.
Despite any lightness of body, there remain attractive nutty, clove and cocoa influences at work.
Next for that French sauvignon
2021 Taste the Difference Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc (£7 – instead of £7.50 until 15 August – at Sainsburys and 12%):
Here is a good example of the difference between southern hemisphere sauvignon and European versions.
Generally speaking, the new world prioritises richness, fruitiness and vibrancy.
By contrast, though, this example from Bordeaux showcases balance, restraint and winemaking skills in an area where ripeness is not guaranteed.
Aromatic and soft, it exhibits nicely balanced, greengage and apple flavours with a suspicion of tropical fruit in the background.
These are built into a grassy, herbal depth and supported by just the right amount of lime acidity.
See you again on Thursday when my regular Sunday Best choice returns after its summer holiday and joins forces, once again, with suggested Friday Night Treats.
Subscribe for FREE!
Do you want every review I write, direct to your inbox, absolutely free?