Twelve Nightcaps Before Christmas – The 4th Nightcap

51ae46ef765d4Nightcap #4: Grupo Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Crianza Reserva 2006, Rioja, Spain $18

I have a strong fondness for Spanish wines and this is never more evident than when I get my lips on a big, bold Rioja. Rioja is almost single-handedly responsible for putting Spain on the global wine map. As with most European wines, the name on the label is the region, not the grape. In Spain, Rioja means tempranillo. This grape is less fruit-driven and more about earthy, smokey, tobacco and leather-like aromas and flavors, with good tannins and a delightful food-friendliness. 

Grupo Bodegas Olarra has only been around since 1973, but they have managed to make a big splash in a fairly short time. They combine modern winemaking with traditional vinification and aging techniques. Although 100% tempranillo wines are becoming more common, Cerro Anon adds a touch of garnacha, mazuelo and graciano to the mix. This wine, which is created from some of the bodegas' older vines, has the earthy, leather components, buoyed by notes of blackberry and orange zest. Try pairing it with your holiday roast. You will not be disappointed.