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Heads up for great value Rioja

The current Tesco promotion (that runs until 3 May) has a number of useful discounts. You will not go far wrong, for example, with Torres Vina Sol (down to £5 from £7), Piccini Chianti Classico (£6 from £9) or the delightful Brancott Estate Sauvignon Gris (£7 from £9).

In my book, however, there is one absolute star.

Rioja Reserva must have three or more years’ maturation with at least one of them in oak; this makes the wine smoother and introduces a few supplementary flavours.

Finest Vina del Cura Rioja Reserva
Finest Vina del Cura Rioja Reserva

That process has worked perfectly in 2011 Finest* Vina Mara Rioja Reserva (£6 – instead of £8 until 3 May), adding a vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate background without dimming the lively loganberry acidity or the intense black cherry and blackberry fruit.

With skilfully balanced tannin, £6 Rioja does not get any better than this!


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Dave Conin

Hi Brian
The Vina Mara (now Vina del Cura) made by the ever reliable ‘Baron de Ley’ still is one of my favourite supermarket Rioja’s. Not tasted the 2011 yet but I do have a few bottles of the 2007 Reserva and the 2004 Gran Reserva in my rack, lovely drop.

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Gris at £7 is a great buy, it has elements of Sauvignon Blanc but more restrained with less aggressive acidity and doesn’t feel like being slapped in the face with a grapefruit, this offering from the ever reliable Brancott Estate may well be the answer if you fancy something a little different.

Brian Elliott

Amen to both points, Dave. Sauvignon gris gets seriously overshadowed by its big brother – despite its greater mellowness… Best …… Brian

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