The great Tempranillos from northern Spain are a terrific red wine to bridge the change in our seasonal ingredients. The wines are labeled by place of origin, so look for the “big three” wine regions: Toro, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. They remain among the best values for world-class reds.
Vinicola Real, “Vina los Valles,”
Rioja 2009, $14
An unoaked style allows this vibrant blackberry fruit to shine. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy with grilled vegetables and goat cheese.
Toro, 2008, $22
Aromas of smoke, plum and roasted meat reappear on the palate with dusty tannins and powerful grip. Grill a sirloin, rub it with some garlic, rest it on a bed of fresh oregano and eat with lusty gulps of this dark red.
Rioja, 2008, $26
A “traditional style,” meaning it’s quite dry. Its subtlety quickly turns to complex flavors that are perfect with paella.
Ribera del Duero, 2008, $48
A glorious wine—a cornucopia of black berries deftly interwoven in sweet oak. Full bodied to be sure, but with a silky texture. A red for lovers.
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Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested. Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.