Two everyday Spanish reds

albaicampo-vTwo Spanish reds take to the stage this time, easily available from most supermarkets and for the quality, reasonably priced.

Both from the Rioja region of Northern Spain, one a 100% Tempranillo and one 100% Garnacha and made in a modern style, with the focus very much on the pure fruit.

Campo Viejo has been around for along time is very well known and features on the shelves of many supermarkets, the Albai you can find mainly in Tesco and Sainsburys.

As I mentioned earlier both these wines are made in a modern style and are very fruit forward, so lets start with the Albai. Firstly the bottle itself which is surprisingly heavy and chunky, when poured the wine has a fairly dense dark purple colour with prominent aromas of cherries and strawberries this follows through in the taste which gives an instant mouthful of juicy bright red fruits. Although slightly tart initially there is a hint of appealing sweetness which comes through on the finish. For an entry-level unoaked Rioja 13% ABV, this wine may well hit the spot for a lot of people but if you prefer a bit of oaked woodiness in your wine that’s still made in the modern style then perhaps for a few pounds more the Reserva is the one to go for, which is in my opinion, excellent.

Next, I think most people would have heard of Campo Viejo with its distinctive labels, most of you guys must have tried their Rioja Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva but how many of you have tried their Garnacha ? ( if you click on the link you will see my thoughts on this CV Garnacha, second review down, when I was a member of the Tesco Wine Forum under the name spikedc, although it was for the 2012 vintage). Unlike the Albai this CV wine has been aged for 4 months in American oak barrels and this comes through in the taste, so as well as the sweet red fruits (think of those cherry drop sweets) there is a soft vanilla creaminess about it. Be warned though this is 14% ABV and can creep up on you pretty quickly.

So overall, both pretty good everyday wines without being too complex, both appeal in their bright fruity flavours and both are very easy to drink.


Castillo de Albai Rioja 2015

My Rating 7/10 Cork



Campo Viejo Garnacha 2015

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Aldi Wine Club Taster – Round 2

AldiClub2Well the second and third wines arrived, again well packaged, if fact it took me quite a while to remove bubble wrap, polystyrene and cardboard to eventually reveal a Spanish Toro Loco Superior and an Australian Exquisite collection  Limestone Coast Chardonnay.

So what were they like? well, again both very good especially for the price.

Toro Loco Superior 2014

Toro Loco (Mad Bull) made from Tempranillo (75%) and Bobal (25%) grapes. This wine is from the Utiel Requena region of Spain just west of the city of Valencia where Bobal rules.

On sticking my nose in the glass there were aromas of cherries and plums along with a hint of fresh strawberries, some smokiness, leather and what smelt like church incense.

Taste-wise again ripe cherries and plums, fresh acidity, a little sourness, slightly vegetal, leather and peppery spice.

My only problem, which is not a problem for some people is that it didn’t last well beyond day one, tasting on the second day it lost some of it’s initial intenseness of flavour and tasted slightly bitter, so my advice is drink it on the same day or because at £3.49 it’s so cheap buy 2 bottles.

All in all a lovely Spanish wine for the ridiculous price of £3.49, go out and buy some now!Aldiwineclub logo

Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2014

Next an Australian Limestone Coast region Chardonnay 2014, from their Exquisite range. A little more expensive although still relatively cheap at £5.79 a bottle.

Bright straw like colour in the glass, aromas of lemon, tropical fruits including peaches, pineapples and nectarines. Exotic and complex with a weighty texture and savoury finish which was incredibly long.

Unlike the Toro Loco this improved on day 2 and even day 3 if you can wait that long to finish it. So this was the pick of the two for me if only because it lasted longer after opening but overall two pretty decent wines, as as I seem to be saying a lot when it comes to Aldi, fantastic value for money.


Toro Loco Superior

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks




Limestone Coast Chardonnay

My Rating 8/10 Cork

Gran Fabrica Carinena Gran Reserva 2001

granfabrica2001Spain 13.5 %

A trip to northern Spain for my next review and the excellent Gran Fabrica Carinena Gran Reserva 2001. This is actually the penultimate bottle from a case I bought a couple of years ago and from what I remember with discount it worked out at a ridiculous price of around 4 or £5 a bottle.

A delicious blend of Tempranillo, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Carinena is located betweeen the fabulous area of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat and this particular bottle the 2001 is from a great vintage for Spanish wines.

Ideally I would have liked to have decanted this for a couple of hours as I have done with the other bottles but this time I took it along to a friends birthday party and we ended up opening and drinking straight away, (everyone who tasted it gave it a big thumbs up).

When poured it was pretty dark and dense in colour with the aged rusty tinge around the rim. Pretty intense aromas of ripe dark plums, cherries, vanilla spice and smokey ash.

Initially quite sweet tasting, smokiness and vanilla oak dominant, mildly tannic, a little dark fruit action but fairly subdued which left the spices and oak pretty much taking over. It did taste smooth and elegant and I like it a lot, shame I’ve only got one bottle left.

The 2006 is currently on sale at Tesco online at £36 a case of six, it’s ok but not even close to the 2001, unfortunately not sure you’ll find the 2001 anywhere now, real shame !

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco 2001?  2006 online £6 a bottle


Legaris Roble Ribera Del Duero 2012

legaris2Spain 13.5%

Again, back to my beloved Spain for the next wine, this time it’s the Legaris Roble 2012 from the Ribera Del Duero region, home to the iconic Vega Sicilia. Doesn’t actually say on the bottle but I assume it’s made from 100% Tinto Fino otherwise known as Tempranillo.

This is a traditional old world style wine, pretty dark coloured with deep purple and violet tones. Strong aromas of dark ripe redcurrants, a little strawberry, hint of smokey Vanilla and what smelt like church incense and candle wax.

Opened this for a couple of hours before serving but took a sneaky sip straight after opening as you do and it would have been fine to drink straight away. Initially you get a big mouthful of dark red fruits along with a touch of spice, a little vanillary oak from the 3 months spent in American barrels but subtle and not overpowering. Toasty with noticeable tannins, rich, brooding, quite dry and very Spanish in flavour.

I enjoyed this (as did all the family) with a brilliant roasted leg of lamb lunch but I would quite happily drink this on its own and allow myself to be transported to a sleepy Spanish bar, church bells ringing with faint echoes of Flamenco music in the air.

Lovely stuff !

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Wine Rack £9.99

French Grenache & Spanish Tempranillo

Two bottles, one from France the other from Spain, both delicious, an adjective I seem to use rarely but in this case it describes these reasonably priced wines perfectly.

Oldvinegrenache(450 x 600)The first is a Grenache from the Cotes du Roussillon and Muscat de Rivesaltes regions in the South of France, a ‘Old Vines Grenache Noir 2012’ and available at M&S for £7.99. An unoaked, fruit filled, soft, silky, almost port like beauty with light tannins, slight acidity, a hint of sweetness with a long finish, It also has a little complexity and depth which makes it an interesting drink . The only slight drawback is the hefty alcohol 14.5% which you certainly feel after a few sips.

This is a wine to savour and finish over a couple of evenings brilliant with food equally as good on it’s own.


Epototempranillo(450 x 600)Next is from Spain, from a traditional Bodega north west of Madrid but with a non traditional screw cap. The ‘Opoto Single vineyard Tempranillo 2010’– Wine Society £6.25.
Very deep crimson with aromas of cherries, strawberries, Vanilla and smokey ash.
Taste – Very fruity, quite tannic, with a real hit of sweet vanilla but with a hint of mint, Eucalyptus and chewy candle wax.

Typically Spanish tasting and you won’t be disappointed !


8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Old Vines Grenache Noir M&S £7.99


8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Opoto Tempranillo £6.25


Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007

finca torrea(450 x 600)Spain 14%

Roast lamb with all the trimmings, family round the table, empty glasses at the ready, what’s missing? Rioja of course. The bottle in question is the ‘Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007’ a blend of Tempranillo & Graciano.

Forward planning is needed with this wine so letting it breathe for a few hours is probably a good idea. Initially straight out of bottle it was very aromatic, full of ripe cherries, strawberries, plums, slight earthy smell, vanilla everything you would expect from a Rioja. Taking a crafty sip after pulling the cork it tasted very spicy with intense fruit and quite a bit of oak.

After around three hours sitting in a decanter (the wine, not me) it had calmed down making this a very balanced drink with nothing dominating, the fruit was still there but the vanilla and spices had mellowed. Still retaining a slight dustiness. Not overly sweet, silky tannins, earthy, smokey but as i said all perfectly balanced to make this one hell of a Rioja.

Luckily for me I managed to find four bottles of this a little while back at the bargain price of £10.99 at our local Tesco Fine wine section, if there were more than four on the shelf I would snapped them up as this retails at around £20+. Even got a staff member to check in the store room for me but alas no more available.

As someone on TV says ‘Rioja doesn’t get better than this !’ well, maybe not quite right but it sounds better.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco online £21.99

Tesco Finest Toro Vinas del Rey 2012

toro1(450 x 600)Spain 13.5%

Supermarket meal deals seem to be everywhere at the moment and I must admit to be a little sceptical about the bottle of wine thrown in with this offer.  The bottle in question is the Tesco Finest Toro Vinas del Rey 2012 from North West Spain, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha.

As it turned out the scepticism was unfounded as this turned out to be  a fairly decent bottle of wine. Opened this about 2 hours before eating, couldn’t resist having  a sneaky sip just after pulling the cork and instantly thought this is going to be good. Really fruity nose of blackcurrants, cherries with a hint of woody vanilla. Initially taste wise, quite a hefty kick of spicy fruit and some noticeable tannins.

Two hours later, it developed into a smoother drink, still very fruity and still with some spice. The tannins were still there and there was a little heat from the 13.5%. A little rugged, slightly sour but with a hint of vanilla. The proof was this just reminded me of Spain and that’s always a good thing.

If you give it a little time to open up and breathe you have a very typically Spanish and a pretty decent glass of wine. Not sure if Tesco will put this on it’s shelves as a stand alone wine, I think they should.

NB: Kept a little back to see how it faired on day two, what I found was a more fruitier flavour , lost that touch of spice but still fairly tannic and dusty tasting.  My human gauge (my wife, not a big red wine drinker) who didn’t taste it on day one thought it was very nice, that will do for me !


My Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco £6.99 (part of meal deal only)

Tesco Finest Ribera del Duero Reserva 2009

Riberadelduerores(450 x 600)Spain 14%

A recent addition to The Tesco Finest range this Ribera del Duero Tempranillo from northern Spain is not for the fainthearted, bold, full of vanillary oak and I liked it !

Straight out of the bottle aromas of blackberries and dark plums hit you and that initial taste of rich rustic fruit and in your face oak set the taste buds tingling.

Maybe a little bold for some to start with, I decided to decant this for a couple of hours in which time it had settled into a much smoother and palatable drink although it still retained the hefty kick of oak. Left for a while it did seem to mute some of it’s initial aromas but this didn’t detract from what is a lovely tasting drink that would have some longevity.

Finally, for me, this needed food and the Roast lamb with Rosemary and Garlic that I had with it paired beautifully. If you like Big bold, oaky wines full of Spanish charm, this would be perfect.


My Rating 8/10 Corks            Tesco Currently 25% off at £7.49