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I am falling behind in writing up all the tastings I have been to recently. This small tasting, dedicated to just one region and with the wines readily available on the high street was a joy. Split between two rooms one area covered the supermarkets and the larger retailers, while the other offered wines from the smaller independent. It was with this group that I spent most of my time.

I have excluded the old style leathery, dried fruit Riojas for more fruit driven wines. Six wines here with a seventh covered a while ago. The Dioniso Ruiz Ijalba, (2002, Rioja, Spain) was a joy made all the more special by being made from an extremely rare variety.

The Independent has coverage of this tasting written by Anthony Rose as does the Observer Magazine written by Tim Atkin.

Wine Tasting Note: Urbina Crianza Rioja, 2000, Rioja, Spain.
Around £10 La Barbe Karin Vintners
My notes open with 'at last something interesting' after a run of drinkable if unexciting wines. Aroma is open and quite pronounced and quite savoury. The palate, smooth and mellow with black fruits and good structure with a lovely spice-led complexity. Bodega Benito Urbina is a family-owned, single estate winery with 75 hectares of vineyards. The Crianza is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano and Mazuelo aged for 12 months in oak casks, and a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Wine Tasting Note: Ostatu Reserva, 2000, Rioja, Spain.
Genesis Wines £11.50
Rounded very drinkable palate with a deep, savoury richness to the fruit. A soft mid-palate then a long, mellow finish. Pepper, spice and raspberry flavours mingle with unripened plum flavours. Alcohol 13.5%. Tempranillo 90% and Graciano.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

Wine Tasting Note: Fernandez de Pierola Crianza, 2001, Rioja, Spain.
£12 contact Masterpiece Wines 01634 293141.
From an estate founded in 1996 this has delicious strawberry led flavours with a complex array of vanilla, coffee and spice. Plenty of tannins ensuring good structure and a long length. Alcohol seemed higher than the 13% on the label. 1005 Tempranillo.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Wine Tasting Note: Dinastia Vivanco Crianza, 2001, Rioja, Spain.
Bibendum £8.49.
Mellow aroma spices and vanilla play with the light fruit. The palate is nicely structured with savoury tomato flavours edged with vanilla. Broad and smooth. 100% Tempranillo.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

Wine Tasting Note: Valenciso Reserva, 2000, Rioja, Spain.
Decanter Wines £15.99.
Succulent and gorgous. Rich and smooth with flavours running from deep spice to mellow vanilla. Tannins hardly noticable they are that smooth and velvety.

Scribblings Rating - 92/100

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» Spittoon - Rioja In Retail Tasting from Catavino
Just a quick find I wanted to make sure you all have a chance to check out, Andy over at was able to make it to the recent Rioja in Retail wine tasting held in London. I point this out because he has posted some great tasting notes that ... [Read More]

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