Michelle, the "wine girl" at http://www.wine-girl.net/ hosts a virtual tasting event called "Wine Blog Wednesday" in which she invites everyone to taste and review wines in a certain category and post their opinions on their own blog or via email to her, where she will post it. I couldn't resist jumping into anything with PASSIONATE in the title, nor anything to do with Spain. This one was definitely up my alley. The criteria for this "Passionate Spain" tasting was to find a value wine, preferably for under $10. So, here is my find:
Marques de Caceres Rioja Rose' 2006: (With apologies to Michelle for reviewing a wine from Rioja, but I couldn't resist...read on.) My husband and I are rose' crazy. We find them to be one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines to drink. There is nothing quite so refreshing on a warm summer evening and rose's from Spain are among our favorites. In addition, rose' goes so well with Spanish and all Mediterranean foods. This particular rose' can be found in most grocery stores and we buy it at Trader Joe's for the unbelievable price of $5.99. Many wine snobs out there will turn their nose up at "grocery store" brands or wines this inexpensive. To the contrary, we believe, as do many of our friends in the wine business, that there are loads of good to great wines out there for under $10 and many are made in large quantities, and are therefore found in grocery stores. (That is not to say that all wines found in grocery stores are good; they are not.)
Now, onto the wine. It starts with a powerful nose for a rose'; this is not your delicate, South of France rose'. The nose is reminiscent of Pinot Noir with a touch of earth and berries. On the palate it has a complex structure for a rose' with light tannins. It is full of fruit, particularly strawberries, balanced by minerals and a lively acidity, with a hint of white pepper in the long finish. This rose' would marry well with richer foods like a garlicky aioli, paella, sausages, or a grilled steak. Lastly, we have been drinking this wine for many vintages, and while there are variations due to weather, this wine still shows great consistency, year after year. Drink within the first year, or until the next vintage is released! (It is imported by Vineyard Brands if anyone is searching for it.)
I must say that I almost reviewed many of the whites I have been drinking from the Northwest of Spain, specifically the Albarinos from the Rias Baixas DOC in Galicias. These are worth seeking out and most are $15 and under.