This is why Rioja is one of the best values in red wine right now. Where else could you find such a distinguished red from the 2001 vintage for less than $35? This isn't something a shrewd wine merchant put away for a few years but the estate's current release. And what a mature beauty it is — aromas of dried cherry and rose petals, flavors of dark berries and tobacco, ripe tannins and a long, inviting finish. A seamless package.
It will go well with just about anything, but I'm thinking lamb — a roast or chops. If we were in Rioja, those baby chops would be grilled over vine cuttings and would be just the thing to show off the nuances of this great Rioja.
Region: Rioja, Spain
Price: About $30
Style: Ripe and lush
What it goes with: Lamb, Manchego cheese
Where to find it: BestWinesOnline, (888) 817-8880, http://www.bestwinesonline.com; Envoyer Fine Wines in Laguna Hills, (949)701-9175, http://www.envoyerfinewines.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (800) 76WINEX, http://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com.