The famous Spanish appellations of Rioja and Ribera del Duero are among only a small number of the world’s wine-growing regions that strictly regulate the use of the word reserve or reserva on wine labels. Those two appellations enforce a four-level classification system based on aging in which reserva requires the second-longest aging period. Reserva red wines must be aged for at least three years before release with one of those years spent in oak barrels. The following are two fine examples that would go well with a variety of foods including grilled beef, roast chicken and paella.
Campo Viejo 2015 Art Series, Rioja Reserva, Spain
Bought • Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, in December for $12.99.
Description • Although this wine carries the bright, eye-catching label designed by contemporary artists Remed and 3TTMan as part of Campo Viejo’s limited edition art series, inside is a classic, delicious Rioja red. Consistently winning high scores from critics, it’s a blend of mostly tempranillo with smaller amounts of graciano and mazuelo that’s been aged for four years. A smooth, medium-bodied red, it tastes of lush black cherries and plums with some black pepper spice and vanilla.
Pagos del Rey 2015 Condado de Oriza, Ribera del Duero Reserva, Spain
Bought • Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, in December for $11.99.
Description • This aromatic red, which is made at the sleek Pagos del Rey winery that opened in 2002, also received good reviews from critics. It’s made from 100% tempranillo grapes grown on 20-year-old vines. Aged in American and French oak for two years, this is a fresh, medium-bodied red that’s a little less fruity and a tad lighter than the Rioja. It’s a smoky, spicy wine with medium acidity that tastes of dark fruit along with hints of herbs, tobacco and cedar.