Sierra Cantabria 2017 Selección-Rioja

This dry red wine is from the Rioja region in Northeast Spain. Riojas have many different options for aging, and this wine is 6 months in stainless steel and 6 months in 2-3 year old American and French oak. Because of this shorter aging in oak this wine is considered a Rioja and not a Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva for the Rioja region. I’m okay with that because sometimes I like my reds with little to no oak, and this wine fits the bill.

For Rioja-It’s all about aging in the bottle!

Here’s a hint on Rioja wines….on the back label look for the color around the Rioja insignia. Green means little to no oak and 1 year in the bottle before release, bright red (Crianza) 1 year oak aging and 1 year aging in the bottle, magenta (Reserva) at least 1 year in oak and 2 years in bottle, blue (Gran Reserve) 3 years in oak and an additional 2 years in the bottle. (So think generically 1,2,3,5 when you are looking at Riojas)

Now you understand why some of your Riojas are more expensive than others! OK…that’s true for most wines. But Rioja is a little different in that they are holding back bottles for more aging after they are bottled and ready to sell. (Some places in Italy are known to do this as well. These types of wines tend to lend themselves to more vegan-friendly wines because they are letting time do the filtering instead of hurrying the process with additives, so even your basic Riojas, like this one, can be a great deal.

Sierra Cantabria 2017 Selección from Rioja (new look in 2018 with the new Rioja rules)

This wine is 100% Tempranillo. Now Riojas (like Chiantis-which uses the Sangiovese grape) can be mostly based on one grape with usually isa little smaller amount of additional grapes added to the blend. However, this wine is all Tempranillo.

You see garnet with dark purple hues.

The smell is of black cherry, red licorice, plum, milk chocolate, baking spice, and violet

The taste carries on with those red fruits you smelled of cherry, raspberry juice, along with baking chocolate, white pepper, and fig.

The softer finish of this wine lasts for a longtime with medium tannins that subtly linger throughout the taste.

This is a great thrifty consumer wine for its aging, even if it's considered a lower tier Rioja. Even the lower tiers are great in Rioja. You can find it at Waterfront Wine and Spirits for 13.99.

Sierra Cantabria 2017 Selección

*Sorry I said Northwest, I meant Northeast....always get my directions of east and west wrong when I talk about Old world wines!:)