I WAS GIVEN a very pleasant bottle of wine to try this week. I took full advantage of this, in as much as I did not share it with anyone!! I am more of a Ribera del Duero type of guy who fell out of love with young Riojas some time ago. But I still have a penchant for good Reservas and Gran Reservas none more so than those that come from Bodegas Muga. This particular gem was a Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2009. Having not made any in 2007 or 2008 (they only sell the best vintages) and not releasing the 2012 or 2013 it makes this spectacular wine even more desirable, collecting from ‘they that know’  95/97 points.

ON THE NOSE it had great aromas of ripe fruits, plums, redcurrants, black pepper, dark chocolate and typical Spanish cedar. On the palate, smooth, polished and refined. Full flavour, but still feeling quite young, for a wine with such depth. I wouldn’t mind trying it again in 10 years. It would probably be at it’s best then. This is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano making up the other 20%. Retailing around €40 it isn’t quaffing wine, but would grace any enthusiastic wine consumer’s dinner party table.





AFTER I was given a bottle of Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2009 to try, prompted a local wine shop to offer me a bottle of Gran Reserva 2007 from bodegas Rioja Alta S.L. from the same style of stables as Muga and Ardanza, I was told that I may find this one even more exciting. Still with plenty of time left in the bottle, I found that the freshness of the vintage and its relatively young age gave the wine a youngish character that I quite liked, combining developed notes of meat, spices, leather with vanilla and balsam with almost cherry/wild berry -like aromas. The palate feels balanced and elegant, with fine-grained and fully resolved tannins and great acidity. Great with beef, game and rich red wine sauces. It is a blend of Tempranillo with 10% Mazuelo aged for four years in well-seasoned American oak barrels.

THIS ASPIRES to be the classic Gran Reserva–polished, silky and elegant with familiar old style Rioja overtones. Not sure which of the two I prefer. I might have to buy myself a couple of bottles to try again. Just like the Enea not a quaffing wine as this comes out at around 39€.

HAD LUNCH with a pal the other day at the very popular eatery, Vovem, in  Nueva Andalucia, Marbella. Specialising in meats from different parts of the world it is obviously very popular with carnivores. I have known my friend for many years and when we first met he had his meat well done. When I suggested that he may prefer his meat a little less cooked making it less dry he said he didn’t like to see blood in meat. I explained that there is no blood in meat and that it is purely the colour of the juice. Something I have been telling people for years, unsuccessfully! Now people say ‘in that case I don’t want to see the juice!’ But for the first time that I can remember, someone else was banging the same drum. The very charming Manageress explained to my colleague when once again he said he didn’t want any blood, that there is no blood in meat. Good to find somebody that agrees with me!! Still, we have got him from well done to medium rare 12 years on!!