Tesco Finest Viña Mara Rioja Gran Reserva 2004

By far the best of my UK supermarket selections over the past couple of weeks. Marketed under the Tesco Finest label, this is in fact made by Baron de Ley.

Immediately complex aroma, with dark, meaty fruit meshing well with an array of oak- and bottle age-derived notes. I find the integration of aromas especially exciting, and I do think styles like these, with more extensive age built into their élevage in barrel and bottle, present a different view of old red wine. There’s a mellowness here, combined with still-robust fruit, that is so attractive.

In the mouth, rich and full bodied, placing liquerous red and black fruits on the tongue along with leather and spice. Flavours are intense and generous, perhaps a little blurry too, but quite delicious. The middle palate shows a good deal of freshness, thanks in part to good acid, although it’s at this point the wine’s flavours come apart a bit, oak especially feeling a bit obvious. The after palate and finish are more about old red wine flavours, delicious if you like them (I do). Mouthfeel is a highlight, being firm yet sensual at the same time.

Good wine, great value.

Tesco Finest (but really Baron de Ley)
Price: £14.99
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

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