A choice between Rioja or Bordeaux

TIPPLE Cune Reserva 2007, Rioja
TIPPLE Cune Reserva 2007, Rioja

ALISTAIR GIBSON ON WINE: It might be a bit left field, but how about Rioja with the turkey?

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Over a recent Sunday lunch with friends I had the opportunity of comparing a bottle of good quality red Bordeaux brought as a gift with a couple of bottles of Rioja I’d been saving up for just such an occasion.

Served with a slow-cooked loin of pork, the first up was Chateau Tronquoy-Lalande 2004, Cru Bourgious, Saint Estèphe (tesco.com, £90 per case of 6), a perfectly respectable claret from a reasonable vintage, showing dark fruits and a certain earthiness.

Medium-bodied with good length, it is what might once have been called good lunchtime claret. The first of the two Riojas is Imperial Reserva 2004 (Waitrose £21.99 for the 2005 vintage), a classic Rioja with red and black fruits and spices, followed by a soft almost velvety mouth feel with more spices and American oak in the background and some real complexity.

Overall round the table, both Riojas were preferred to the Bordeaux – not a scientific test, but interesting all the same.

Top tipple

Cune Reserva 2007, Rioja

The other Rioja opened showed lovely supple fruit with layers of bramble-type fruits and spices with notes of coffee and caramel, followed by a long, soft finish – very grown-up and great value.

Majestic, £13.99 but £11.99 if you buy 2. Waitrose £11.99