2003 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza, 87 points

2003 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Crianza

(Spain, La Rioja, Rioja)

This wine was edging toward the Brunello feel.  However the quality level was not there.  The color was deep purple and a hint of dark brown. The nose had some apple and pear.  Not bad nose. It was hot and the alcohol was coming right out and did not settle down with time. The palate was short and hit you with tobacco, bark, black currants, and black licorice.  It was short and on the dryer side.  I think this wine was ok for the money but I would not rush out to try it.  Had a darker bunello touch to it.

Rioja is probably Spain’s signature wine. Rioja is characterized by its long aging in oak barrels. The Crianzas are the youngest of the Riojas, reflecting the flavors and style of their bigger reserve and gran reserve siblings, but without the structure and depth of the long barrel aging. What results is a vibrant and easy-drinking wine with plenty of fruit, spice, and earthiness.

The Montecillo is typical of Crianzas. Its color is bright garnet with an effusive bouquet of ripe berries and sweet oak. In the mouth there is lots of flavor – cherries, cranberries, and roasted peppers. The oak flavors are somewhat muted and it finishes with soft tannins that are almost musty. Nice layers of flavor and lots of wine for the money. Will go well with pizza, roasted meats, and grilled veggies.

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