Costco has been getting some pretty solid Spanish wines lately. We recently reviewed the 2012 Condado de Haza Ribera del Duero and 2011 Orben Rioja, both of which received high ratings from Wine Spectator as well as our editor(s). I should also mention the 2012 Cune Rioja Reserva, which recently sold out at many Costco locations (we reviewed the 2010 Crianza while the 2010 Gran Reserva placed 22nd on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List). The 2013 vintage of “La Montesa” Rioja Crianza arrived at select clubs last week, just in time to fly under the radar of the Wine Spectator Top 100 List craze. It was number 52 on the list.
If you weren’t already aware, Rioja is classified based on how long it is aged in oak barrels and in the bottle. A wine with “Rioja” and nothing else is the youngest, aged less than one year in oak. “Crianza” is aged for at least one year in oak plus one year in the bottle. “Reservas” must spend at least one year in oak then two years in bottles, and finally “Gran Reservas” have been aged at least two years in oak with an additional three years in their bottles. You may not always see the classification listed on the front label, so be sure to check the neck and back of the bottle for a stamp when you see “Rioja” on the front.
The 2013 “La Montesa” Rioja Crianza is a gleaming ruby red hue and somewhat translucent. The nose brings dried cherries, blood orange, and new leather. On the palate, the juice has tart fruit flavors like red plums and ripe strawberry that are well-balanced with acidity and easy to drink. The finish is clean but lingering enough as can be expected from a young Rioja. This is a fantastic food wine, but a pleasure to drink on its own as well. I am surprised at the 14.5% alcohol content because it is very well integrated into the overall structure of the wine.
At $12.99 a bottle, I definitely think this will be a “sleeper wine.” It will sit in the wooden bins or stacked along the aisles for a couple of weeks until members buy it, try it, and realize what a great value it is. It will then quickly sell out. Personally, I plan to hoard a few bottles. I also plan to pick up a couple of the 2012 vintage which has already been in stock for some time and received a 90 point Wine Spectator rating. This vintage is in a Bordeaux-shaped bottle while the 2013 is in a Burgundy (Chardonnay/Pinot Noir) bottle.
Purchased In: Cumming, GA