Spain’s flagship wine, Rioja, takes its name from the region La Rioja in Spain.

Located south of the Cantabrian Mountains, along the Ebro, La Rioja benefits from a continental climate. The mountains help to isolate the region which has a moderating effect on the climate. They also protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain.

Only four grape varieties are permitted in red Rioja wines, and they come from three sub-regions: Rioja Alta in the north-west, Rioja Alavesa in the Pais Vasco and Rioja Baja in the south-east. Rioja Alta and Alavesa’s wines are grown at altitudes of up to 600m, and share clay soils rich in chalk and iron, where the best Tempranillo and Graciano grapes are found. Rioja Baja is lower, down to 300m, and hotter, with alluvial soils; Carinena and Garnacha are grown here. Rioja reds are ripe with strawberry-raspberry Tempranillo fruit, underpinned with a warm oaky note: the result of barrel ageing in the winery. There are four main types: jóven, crianza, reserva and gran reserva, each with increasing levels of barrel ageing.

Vina Bujanda represents a new venture from the Martinez Bujanda family. Using grapes from their 120 hectares in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa that they had previously sold on to other producers, they have launched the vina Bujanda brand.

Vina Bujanda Rioja Crianza 2007, DOC Rioja, Spain, 13.5% alc.€13.99

Aromas of black fruits – blackberries and blueberries mingle with spicy tones gained from the oak; on the palate, the flavours replicate the aromas with the addition of vanilla and tobacco notes – a traditioinal Rioja at a great price..This Crianza has lovely rounded ripe cherry fruits with a light spiciness.

After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine spends a further twelve months ageing in American oak barrels giving a little complexity and softening the wine – yielding a well balanced ripe fruited wine with a soft, sweetish oak finish.

Great as a glass on its own, with roast beef, steak, duck, roast lamb, lamb chops, hamburgers, cheeses, stews or truffles.


This Week’s Snippet of Info…

What way are Spanish wines labelled regarding age?

1) Joven is a young wine designed for early consumption with little or no oak maturation 2) Crianza is a wine that has spent at least 6 months in oak and at least 18 months in bottle before release 3)Reserva is a wine that has spent at least 1 year in oak and the balance of 3 years in bottle before release 4) Gran Reserva is a wine that has spent at least 18 months in oak and the balance of 5 years in bottle before release.

Available from Dicey Reilly’s, Ballyshannon

And good independent Off Licences.