Rioja x 3 = Value

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For those who love Spanish wines (full body, dark fruit/cedar/oak/vanilla flavors), I've put together another 3-pack value that will not disappoint. Spanish wines in general have excellent aging potential, and you can keep these for a bit or drink them now, as they all pair very well with roasted and grilled meats, barbecue, poultry and game, Iberian ham and sausages, as well as semi-cured cheeses. 

La Rioja Alta, Rioja Reserva Vina Aberdi 2013. Outstanding, medium-depth garnet red, clean and bright. The nose stands out for the intensity of aromas of wild strawberries, currants and raspberries, against a balsamic background with notes of vanilla, toasted caramel, and ground coffee beans. Warm aromatic entry, with good structure and balance, soft amiable tannins. The aromatic harmony persists on the finish, with marked freshness and balance. 

Bodegas Olarra, Nucerro Rioja Gran Reserva 2010. The blend for this one is 80% Tempranillo, with the rest being Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano from 40-50 year old vines. The nose is earthy black and red berry fruit, vanilla, cedar, spices, smooth tannins and a long smoky finish. Because this is a Gran Reserva, it was aged for 5 years, with at least 2 years in barrels and 2 years in bottle, and typically these wines are at least twice as expensive. 

La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2009. 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, from the estate vineyards in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo vines are averaging 30+ years of age, and the wine is very balanced, serious and harmonious with dark fruit, vanilla, baking spices, and balsamic aromas. On the palate, it's very powerful and elegant, perfectly balanced in acidity and alcohol, with structure from the silky tannins, and flavors of blackberry, dark fruit, toasty and sweet spices, and vanilla, and a long and lingering finish. 

Elina Brager