Spain and Italy are the standout countries in this tasting of European reds, as Ralph Kyte-Powell writes.
European red wines offer us a window on a different wine experience. Traditionally the European wines most commonly admired in English-speaking countries have been those from France, but these days our expanding vinous horizons are taking us elsewhere. The ever-improving products of Spain and Italy feature large in the wine world these days, and the uniquely different qualities they demonstrate make exploring them a delight. As a general rule, such wines are less about purity of ripe fruit than ours; instead, they present more savoury qualities and a wonderfully food-friendly moreishness that’s winning disciples everywhere.
In Cuisine’s tasting of European reds, standards varied considerably, with a number of wines of ordinary quality at best. However, the top examples were
very impressive. Adding appeal are the very reasonable price tags – all four of our top-scoring wines were rated Best Buys.
John Belsham, an international wine judge and owner of Foxes Island in Marlborough, was joined in this Cuisine tasting by Australian wine authority Ralph Kyte-Powell and author of the wine-review publication Wine Orbit, Sam Kim.
Marqués de Cáceres is a relatively modern rioja winery, and their Crianza certainly has a contemporary, fruit-driven feel. Savoury earthiness is interwoven with rounded red and black fruit characters, and a fleshy, flowing palate leads lingering and dry through supple tannins.