La Rioja (part two)

Once my top wine of choice, Rioja wines have taken a bit of a back seat after my discovery of Italian grape varieties. It still ranks high on my list though, and my suitcase rammed with ten wine bottles from my recent visit to the Rioja wine capital is testament to that.

Shiv and I spent three days in Haro visiting wineries and drinking more wine than I can remember. I discovered some great new bottles that I will definitely return to. My top six:

Ramon Bilbao – Gran Reserva 2006
Gomez Crusado – Blanco 2013 & Honorable
Rioja Alta – Viña Arana
La Vicalanda – Reserva 2007. A nice discovery during a night out on the main plaza in Haro.
Viña salceda – Crianza 2011. I found this wine in Super Amara for €5.99 while looking for the Crianza 2010. I bought it as I couldn’t find the latter, and was surprised with the tannins and earthiness present in this vintage. I later tried the Crianza 2010 again in Hidalgo 56 and definitely thought the 2011 was a much better vintage.
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Other good bottles that I also enjoyed

Roda – Specifically the Riojan Joven. The Reserva was good too.
Viña Olabarri – Had the Crianza on our first night in a wine bar in Haro.
Martinez Lacuesta – I had the Crianza (three times!). I thought it was a decent and easy-to-drink Crianza, although it didn’t have the interesting tannins, earthiness or acidity that Viña Arana and Viña Salceda had.

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