A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Usually posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days….

Allende La Vega, Ribera del Duero Crianza, 2010 – 13½% – Waitrose £10

This month’s theme focuses on wines from near a famous river in Central and Eastern Europe, so for Wine-Of-The-Month I thought we’d sample an offering from near a famous River in the West.

Namely the Duero/Douro, famous for wine (and Port) in Spain and Portugal. We’ll look at a fine example of Ribera del Duero in March, but in the meantime here’s an entry-level example.

This wine is dark and has immediate prune and grainy coffee nose, then there’s a higher note of something like pollen and a sharp – almost charcuterie tinge.

The palate is earthy, slightly spicy and with chewy tannins, plums, wood and a sharp line of acidity. This needs food, to soften the acidity primarily.

With time the wine opens and integrates a little (I would decant it, ideally) and the graininess becomes more chocolate, and there is some integration of the acidity to shift focus a warm, both alcohol and spice, element and sweeter plum fruit.

With food (roast chicken) the acidity seems softer though not diminished in quantity, but the wine seems to gain weight around it and balances the meat rather well. Although there is always a spicy and rather rustic muddy finish.

This is a big-boned wine seeming more reminiscent of Portugal than Spanish Tempranillo, but very different to Rioja. It definitely needs food, though, and with that not bad value.

Ratings:     Quality: 13.5/20   Value: 15.5/20