For most of my time as a wine lover, I’ve enjoyed a lot of what Spain and particularly Rioja has to offer. There are several reasons for this: the combination of climatic conditions, winemaking philosophy, and their built-in aging regulations for various designations of wine all aid in the eminent drinkability of Riojas upon release. That said, they often have the ability to age further and seamlessly. Rioja produces wines that are among the most food-friendly in the world, and they are a consistent region from which to expect excellent values.
The Bodegas Valoria 2010 Viña Valoria Crianza meets all of the above criteria. Produced from fruit sourced entirely in Rioja, this offering is a blend of Tempranillo (70%), Graciano (20%), and Mazuelo (10%). Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks; 12 months of barrel aging in American Oak followed. Finally, the wine was bottled aged for 6 months prior to release: 28,000 six-bottle cases were produced, and bottles retail for $25.
The bright red hue of this Crianza is immediately striking as it pours into your glass or decanter. The nose is filled with rose petals, cinnamon, and bright red fruit aromas. The slightly chewy palate shows off cherries, leather, spice, and bits of red raspberry. The core of fresh red fruits is interspersed with a supporting layer of dry fruit characteristics that add depth. The finish here is long and structured with tobacco leaf, wild strawberry, black pepper, and bits of tea all playing a role along with a hint of chicory at the very end. Firm acidity and medium tannins which yield with some air are part of the package here.
I love this crianza: it hits all the sweet spots for me in terms of value, ability to age further, and food friendliness. At about $25 (closer to $20 if you shop around), this is an excellent example of Rioja and well worth your time and money. Whether you’re new to Rioja wines or a regular drinker of the region, here’s one that should be on your radar.