Rioja (“ree-OH-hah“) is Spain’s most famous wine region and it’s easy to see why. Palacio de Oriente (“The Royal Palace of Madrid”) is a label made by the guys at the Navarro Lopez winery in Spain. They make other labels you might find like Rojo, Arriba, Don Aurelio and Calle Real.
NZ Master of Wine Steve Bennett regularly travels through Europe sniffing, swirling and spitting his way through thousands of wines to find the best and the best of the best to chuck on a boat and bring into Aotearoa. He’s done the hard work for you in finding this great little Rioja Reserva label.
He put the wine in front of another Master of Wine, Bob Campbell, to see what he thought. Scoring it 93/100, Bob called it “Mellow, medium-bodied and quite mature Rioja with vanilla, dark berry, savoury and beef tea flavours. The 24 months in oak has rounded off the edges and helped produce a moderately complex wine. Good value at this price ($25).”
To be labelled Reserva it has to follow strict Rioja wine laws – aged for a minimum of 3 years including 12 months in oak (this one got double that with two years in American oak!). With several years under its belt already this is a beautifully aged, smooth and mellow with plenty of bold, powerful red fruit flavours.
Dust off the cork screw (you’ll need it here!) and pair this Spanish beauty with roasted and grilled red meats, especially lamb.