Rioja Wines have never been more popular than now. But by the same token… Spain has never been so popular. It seems every second person who comes into the store goes straight for the Spanish section. But why wouldn’t they?? They are, after all, producing some of the best full-bodied reds in the world at the moment. But what is so special about Rioja?? Cause i don’t know about you… but i never heard of the place until i started drinking wine… And it seems that there are some reds from Toro, or Ribera del Duera that could easily challenge for the crown. Well like other wine producing regions in Spain, their grape of choice is- Tempranillo. Now Tempranillo may go by other names like Tinta Fino in Ribera Del Duero, or Tinta de Toro in the Toro region- but at their heart they’re all still Tempranillo! So the same grape… the same country… what’s the point? Well like anything with wine- it comes down to the little things. And region affects the Grapes in so so so many ways.

So lets look at the contenders to the crown before we go any further.
Eternum Viti- Toro- €14.95
First of we have the Eternum Viti from the Toro region in Spain. Toro follows the flow of Duera river (which turns into the duoro river in portugal, which is home to some incredile portuguesse red wines) and is located right beside a great white wine region (what few of them there are in Spain) called Rueda. But here in the Toro region the grapes are realtively early ripening and are known for being thich skinned and potent- which means they are noted for their colour, strength, and jammy flavours.
Neo Sentido- Ribera del Duero €19.95 (but currently 20%off – €15.96)
Located to the east of the Toro region, but still on the Duero river, Ribera del Duero is well accustomed to the Tempranillo grape. It accounts for 95% of their overall grape production. So when it comes down to it… they know what they’re at! You can expect wine from this region to be bold, yet structured, with a good body, and powerful fruit flavours that intermingle perfectly with oak.

Hazana Reserva- Rioja- €17.95

So defending the honour Rioja i have picked the Hazana Reserva. I could have picked the Hazana Reserva especial which recently won 2nd place in the food & Wine magazine’s list of top wines over €15. But this usually retails around €24.95 and i figured we may as well keep everything fair, so i went for a Rioja in the same price bracket as the other 2. Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions, and Rioja is different from the other 2 regions because it allows the inclusion of other grapes into its wines. BUUUTTT this Rioja is 100%Tempranillo. Rioja reds are characterised by being very balanced in their alcohol content, by having a body and structure offset perfectly by a gentle and elegant flavour, and by being generally fruity in nature when young and more velvety when aged.

Now i’m not going to tell you which wine i think should be seen as the real King of Spanish reds… instead i’m going to leave it to you! Becasue as some of you may know and others not, this Sunday we are having our Christmas Wine fair in the G- Hotel! We’ll have over a 100 different wines from all over the world for you to try, and all the money will be going to a good cause! So what I’m suggesting is these 3 wines will be there at it- and are defiantly worth a try!! but more importantly it will be up to ye to decide which one id the king of Spanish reds! Hope to see ye there!