Angie away this Saturday, checking out her first grandchild so, naturally, my thoughts turned to Rioja and chorizo, with added mushrooms. But first a Faugeres, Alquier’s Maison Jaune 2004 (13.5%). Opened last night. Now showing a rather spirity nose, not very distinctive, taste is warm, savoury and spicy without any distinctive grape predominating (seems to be 70 per cent Grenache, 20 per cent Syrah and 10 per cent Mourvèdre). Reviews talk of a ‘hint of the garrigue’ but I can never get that. Decent wine anyway and not too expensive, around £12, I think, bought from the WS, a few years ago.
When we used to go to Spain in the nineties a Rioja we always looked out for was Remelluri. Another old school maker, not easy to find in the UK, although it is on Amazon. Their website has less information than most but some fabulous photos of the terroir. Over the years it was a name I’d forgotten so I was pleased to discover a bottle recently in my ‘cellar’ (cupboard under the stairs). This is the 2005 Reserva (£18.50, 13.5% WS, no longer available). A step up from the Faugeres, rich, big mouth feel, long, a touch ‘leathery’. However not typically Rioja I felt – would have been hard to spot if tasted blind.