Rioja gaining ground but Ribera Del Duero still unknown

There have been many articles recently about how Rioja has become much more popular for the daily tipple of millions of Europeans and Americans around the world.  Consumers are choosing cheaper bottles of wine to drink, usually sub $10, and can find great value with wines from Rioja, without comprising too much quality.

Rioja still is somewhat of a mixed bag, with many sub $10 wines not worth opening, but nowadays you can get Reserva and occasionally Gran Reserva wines in this price bracket, and that can make all the difference.

My favourite wines, from Ribera del Duero, still usually cost substantially more, but even this region, renowned for big, bold wines, is starting to turn out some reasonable wines under $20.  I predict that this will be a trend that will continue, resulting in awareness of Ribera del Duero growing substantially over time.

Vina Cubillo Rioja 2005

Those of you that know me, know that I love 2005 Spanish wines.  For the mostpart, it was a stellar year across Spain for the winemakers and Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines from 2005 and generally superb.

So imagine my disappointment when i uncorked this Vina Cubillo only to find a wine that is average at best.  It looked slightly past it's best and it tasted flat, one dimensional, insipid, watery.  I could go on but you probably get the message.  Thank goodness I only paid $23.99 for it, but I won't be buying it again.

Vina Cubilo

Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva

Campo Viejo is one of the better known Riojo wines and is readily available.  You usually see the Crianza knocking around the place, and that is fine for a regular, house wine.  But Crianza's only need to be aged for two years (one of those in oak barrels).  A Gran Reserva, on the other hand, is like the daddy of Riojas, and sits around for at least two years in oak and three in the bottle.  The result is a deeper, smoother, richer wine and usually well worth spending the extra dollars on.

This Campo Viejo 2004 Gran Reserva is no exception.  It is made up of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 10% Mazuelo.  It is drinking perfectly now, but will likely keep until 2016 or 2017.  I [think] I paid under $30 for it and I can see that has it currently for $26.99, which is good value for money.

Campo 2004