Wine region / Country
XIII Lunas 2011 (2 bottles)
Paisajes Valsalado 2010 (2 bottles)
Lanzaga 2009 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £83.15
Club Discount Price: £71.50
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Red Crianza. Bodegas Fin de Siglo Rioja, Spain Grenache, Tempranillo
Bottle: £6.51 club members / £7.58 non-members
XIII Lunas is made from the Garnacha (63%) and Tempranillo (37%) grapes of vineyards planted in the Najerilla Valley, in the Rioja Alta sub-zone, and its provenance unequivocally pervades its character. It is a present-day Rioja, with sinew, body and structure, yet a classic at heart, very inviting, drinkable and elegant. A nod to nature is there too in its name: thirteen moons, the thirteen orbits the Moon makes around planet Earth, the thirteen lunar cycles which correspond to its twelve months of ageing in barrel.
XIII Lunas appears a bright and crystal clear Picota cherry colour in the glass. On the nose it offers gentle aromas of juicy fruits, redcurrants and blackcurrants, fruit of an acidic nature, refreshing; and on the palate it comes over as a harmonious wine, with a pleasant balance achieved between sweetness, fruitiness, tannins and acidity; despite not being particularly complex, not at all detrimental in its price range, this is a complete wine, without too much oak, revealing traces of minerality and showing considerable persistence. Ideal for always having to hand at home, to open and enjoy whatever the occasion, a red with plenty of life and promising good evolution in bottle.
Pork / chicken / dishes with sweet and sour sauce / mushrooms / rice dishes / beefburgers
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Red Crianza. Paisajes y Viñedos Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache, Mazuelo, Graciano
Bottle: £13.79 club members / £16.04 non-members
His Paisajes Valsalado is made from a blend of four varieties: Tempranillo (40%), Garnacha (40%), Graciano (10%) and Mazuelo (10%), which grow together in a vineyard of just one hectare, facing south-east and planted on a clay and gravel soil. It is an aromatically complex wine and well finished, smooth and with silky tannins, most pleasurable if we can be patient enough to let it evolve in bottle for a couple of years, and it could be kept for several more years after that. It is a serious, accessible wine and a quality one too.
When we pour Paisajes Valsalado into a glass, its dense tears clearly indicate it will be a wine with some body. On the nose, the first aromas are very fresh, pleasant and attractive, inviting us to take a sip. With aeration, the aromatic palette becomes even richer, and those first aromas of red and black fruits, so ripe and distinctive, are complemented with oily aromas, reminiscent of quince apple and leather (the glycerine and full-of-juiciness feel dominates overall and our impression is that the Garnacha brings its character firmly to the fore), mild menthol and pine forest notes (great freshness) and also fine chocolate. It would be a shame to rush serving it, since with some time and temperate decanting, the "paisaje" seems to be given a fresh impetus, like opening a window just as it starts to rain: aromas of damp earth, freshness mixed with earthy warmth, countryside notes and floral hints...
On the palate it is smooth and rounded, intense and fruit-forward, mature, creamy, a wine with structure and body, powerful yet not resulting heavy at all, and very polished, with silky tannins and a chocolaty finish which, without leaving any trace of bitterness nor sweetness either, brings it all to a definite conclusion. Serious, good quality, much more complex on the nose than the palate, lengthy and well-crafted.
Veal steak / entrecôte / marinated meats / barbecues / roast suckling pig / roast chicken
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Red Crianza. Compañía de Vinos de Telmo Rodríguez Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Graciano, Grenache
Bottle: £15.45 club members / £17.96 non-members
To enable full enjoyment, we recommend decanting half an hour beforehand but most importantly, always serving in small amounts; the fruit in all its purity needs to breathe. On entry, it shows its masculine side, with aromas of black fruit typical of the Tempranillo, the main variety in its composition, mineral notes and subtle hints of leather, but with some aeration in the glass that darker, deeper character soon gives way to an elegant perfume of raspberries, with warm bakery notes, balsamic hints, revealing a much more feminine profile, sweet and refined. This wine has two sides to it, united in a perfect relationship. We must stress: just a small amount in the glass, as this wine continues to give out fruit and ever more fruit.
Its entry is smooth yet, and again comes the contrast, has a great abundance of fruit; the fruitiness, almost chewy, is still very young (you only have to see how well it has kept its colour, an intense cherry shade) and, although it is quite drinkable and not at all harsh, it shows great potential, with good structure now and promises a long life ahead. It is less complex on the palate than on the nose, and has a slightly bitter touch, of bay leaves and mountain herbs, which is discernible both to the taste and on the finish, contrasting with that rather sweet and refined nose that had delighted us at the beginning. In short, a Rioja for inquisitive palates, for lovers of wines treated respectfully in their making and which don't necessarily set out to impress but to give real pleasure.
Red meats / small game dishes / cooked sausages / full-fat cheeses / poultry
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