2014 Sierra Cantabria Seleccion
Rioja is a great place to be drinking red wine. I used to think Rioja came in two styles – a modern, lush, sophisticated, oaky and fruit-driven one; and an ethereal, savory, lean, purely traditional style. After tasting Sierra Cantabria’s Seleccion, I think I’ve found yet another gorgeous style:
I took a sip and thought “Brunello” – the layers of dark chocolate, cacao, touches of truffle, barrel spices and savory meats all indicated long barrel maturity like the best Brunello. And the palate: a core of muscular powerhouse tannins that had been smoothed down to perfection and then wrapped around a delicious center of wild and raw black fruits with shavings of more dark chocolate and baking spice. The finish – long, smooth, totally integrated and able to stand up to any Spanish paprika brisket shaved over a piementon aioli-slathered grilled slice of bread and Sevillian olives… but it’s also amazing as a cocktail, warming the body and soul with its arcadian flair.
The place is San Vicente de la Sonsierra nestled up against the Sierra Cantabria in the wine region of Rioja, Spain. Proximity to the mountain range is what builds the wine’s character. The days are warm, providing the energy for rich, full impact of fruit and density on the palate. On the other hand, the mountain air cools at night, create a wine that is abounding in muscle. Couple the two and age it in oak cask, and you get this beauty – a wine of far more expressive character than a wine snob like me would guess is possible for the price.
Compare it to a Brunello? Maybe not fair. But with this flavor, at this price, I’m a believer!