Monday, June 19, 2006

Castillo San Lorenzo Gran Reserva 1988

I bought this wine having been amazed to see a 1988 vintage Gran Reserva in my local Tesco store, and priced at £15 it was really looking like being much of a muchness as far as Rioja goes, however despite the length of time it had spent in American oak, this was completely delicious, the years in storage having clearly brought out the very best in it. For £15 it was beautifully complex and balanced with wonderful cherry and strawberry flavours - I can't praise the Tesco buyers too much for this one - for an huge company who need to buy big it is nice to see, that although this comes from a big winery, they've managed to stay true to Rioja in what they've produced. Let's get one thing clear - this is never going to win any awards, but served with (undercooked) rack of lamb on a hot Summer's day it was wonderful - the age helping to damp it down a little - just the thing for a day like that! It was nice to see a wine made with Graciano and Mazuelo rather than Garnacha too, a great many of the producer's in Rioja are turning to Garnacha to make a more "international" style of wine but personally I think that it also affects the quality of the wine - the traditional varieties may not be such high quality grapes - but when blended with Tempranillo my opinion is that they work much better. So at for £15 you can get a wine which will probably impress and wow your friends - assuming of course they're not massive wine buffs themselves - or a wine which fits somewhere between that very special occasion and an every day wine. Check it out - you might just like it!

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