Berberana (Spain) Etiqueta Negra Rioja Reserva 2003
A Rioja bodega with 130 years of history behind it, Berberana is perhaps best-known for its well-made, reliable and fruity high street Riojas and the Dragon Tempranillo that is a hit at very modest prices. But there are signs that
the company is also keen to innovate and improve its quality further, with a new range of wines called "Carta de Oro Etiqueta Negra". There are Joven, Crianza and Gran Reserva wines in the range, but this Reserva already
has national distribution through Tesco. A blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, it is matured for 24 months in new American oak barriques. The colour is a very dark but mellow ruby, and the nose is flooded with creamy
vanillin, tobacco, spices and a warming, earthy core of fruit. This is classic Rioja, but clean and letting the fruit come through. On the palate there is a real juiciness to this wine, with sprightly tannins and cherry acidity, and a bit
of tension between that and the crisp, poised fruit and spicy oak background. This will appeal to lovers of "traditional" Rioja, but also has a more modern, fruity character. £8.99, Tesco.