I don’t think it a surprise when I say I love Spanish wines, given all the wine trips I have taken there, and how much I write about the wines.
As well, any right-minded person realizes that the region of Rioja is to Spain what Bordeaux is to France and Napa is to California. While Rioja may be an agrarian region, it certainly is exciting with the wonderful horseshoe-shaped street in Haro, where all the superb tapas bars sell great small plates and 30-year old gran reservas.
So, when I get a chance to try a new Rioja, I get excited and the 2009 Luis Canas Crianza Rioja certainly sparked my enthusiasm.
This is an elegant and delicious red with style, grace and polish. Many Riojas are steeped in tradition (Rioja Alta, Lopez De Heredia), and others are more New World (Marquis de Caceres, Sierra Cantabria). The winery that seems to strike a note on both ends of these styles is Muga, and now I will add Canas to this short list, which also includes Bodegas Lan.
The Canas Crianza – a term which means “nursed in wood” for a year – is a creamy, refined wine with aromas of dark cherries, vanilla and plum. The mouth shows off a nice dose of vanillin, dark fruits and reasonable tannins, but the flavors are complex without being bawdy.
The blend here is 95 percent tempranillo, which means it is a wine with a real pedigree of quality. I should mention that it has been classed by most wine writers as among the best of its style.
Give that it sells for about $18 a bottle, that says a lot.
Roger Gentile is the owner of Gentile’s, the Wine Sellers – www.gentiles.com – and the author of two books on wine.