As Europe makes every effort to slip into something more comfortable for spring, we at Secret Sommelier are anticipating an enduring fiesta. To help the lubricate the spirit we tasted a big brand Rioja Gran Reserver, a Cava Gran Reserver and a lesser known wine produced in the Ribero Del Duero. The wines were provided by Campo Viejo and by Latin Wines (www.latinwines.co.uk).
 
The big brand that hit the table was Campo Viejo who sent in their Cava Gran Reserver and also the Rioja Gran Reserver. Both wines were very good. The Cava was pleasant surprise as it was expected to take layers of skin off the mouth but... hear this... at £6.99 it was a bargain that knocked the woolly knee-creepers off Champagnes from the £10-15 price points. So note that... Campo Viejo (available from Sainsbury's, Odd bins, Cost Co) is a worthwhile purchase for a bit of mouth cleansing fizz! It was interesting though that their prize piece, the Rioja Gran Reserve, 1998, in traditional wire dress, was not really so impressive. It was good but it wasn't great. We had a brief chat about how it would stand up against a Muga and it was clearly stated by my colleague that it didn't stand a furkin chance!
 
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On the other hand the Enoa Reserva, 2001 from the Ribero Del Duero was the days champion. It was deep ruby in colour, extremely complex nose and producing all the desirous qualities that a good wine should. Aroma's of vanillin mixed with dark berry fruits... it made one long for meats... were conjured. Tipped onto the palate, I have to say I sensed the intensity.. immediately I was seized by memories... was it Spain? Long lunches, or maybe something more profound... yes, that's it, it had all the composed intensity of Caravaggio's 'The Martyrdom of St Ursula'. This was quality wine that made an announcement... that spoke with depth of character.. with sweetness of oak and alas a lining of sorrow in that the bottle was finite and not last forever... should one turn to the church? My trusted colleague suggested that we might pitch it against an Alion but, as good as this is and how much i want to drink it again and again... could it possibly stand up? Room for another post here methinks!

Now late at night, I lean hunched over this machine and sip from the Spanish cup. A country, once feared for hostile gestures towards our British shores, now has designs of seduction and enticements that have us yearning for more.
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