Casebianchi Cumalè Fiano Cilento 2014
Vibrant fresh, fruity and interesting. Herbs on the nose, honey, orange peel with a nice mineral core. I am generally a fan of Fiano although I have come across a large number of very boring wines in recent months: this one certainly isn’t. It has real energy and a lovely texture. Sheridans, by the way, have a small but very good eclectic range of wines.
€21 from Sheridan’s cheesemongers.
Cantos de Valpiedra Rioja Cosecha 2012
This is a perfect (and very well-priced) example of a modern Rioja without any reserva, gran reserva or other designation. Smooth and ripe with cassis and red cherry fruits, well-integrated spicy oak and a very decent finish. A crowd-pleaser that cannot fail to impress.
€18.50/£12.50 from jnwine.com
Available from Sheridans Cheesemongers, and 64wine, Glasthule for €22.50.
From a small family estate based in Fuenmayor in Rioja Alta, this is a wonderful Rioja, one of the best I have tasted in some time. Made from 90 Tempranillo, it has an irresistible combination of perfectly ripe dark cherry fruits, good acidity, and very subtle oak. It carries its 14% alcohol effortlessly. There are some tannins on the finish, and I suspect it will improve for another five years or so, but it went perfectly with a roast shoulder of pork for Sunday lunch. Excellent wine worth seeking out.
We love Rioja in this country; posh Rioja Reserva sells like hot cakes in restaurants, wine shops and supermarkets. This must be aged for three years before release, and has spent a minimum of twelve months and usually more, in oak barrels. The idea is the wine comes ready to drink. A good Reserva will be rich and smooth with subtle sweet vanilla flavours, but you need to start off the ageing process with good wine. Cheap Reserva is frequently watery and smells of cheap wood. This Monte Real Rioja ignores the traditional Rioja categories and simply calls itself Rioja. It is lightly oaked, but the snappy dark cherry fruit is to the fore, and finishes with some light tannins. A great everyday wine to enjoy with chicken or red meats. €10 from O’Briens.