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I havenít written a review of wine before, despite being an avid drinker of it, but I have been inspired to write about one that I bought and tried recently: Castillo San Lorenzo Rioja. I donít know a lot about wine but like to drink it with a meal in the evening a few times a week, money permitting, and always try to get something nice if I can. I know that, in general, I enjoy wines from Chile or from the Rioja region of Spain more than I tend to like others and so I was delighted to find two different bottles of Rioja on offer at half price in Tesco the other day. One was reduced from £12 to £6 and the other was £13 to £6.50, though I canít remember which was which Ė but needless to say this wine was an exceptional bargain compared to what it should cost full price.
The first impression I had of this wine was the smell emitted from the bottle on opening it. I was greeted with a very noticeable scent of vanilla, which surprised me, as I rarely get a strong fragrance from a wine other than, well, wine. As well as being vanilla in essence, the wine smelt gorgeous, which was a relief considering that I had spent still a decent amount
on it, despite its reduced price.
On drinking the wine, I didnít taste the flavour of vanilla that had come through in the scent, but I was struck by how beautiful this wine was. It is described as being Ďmedium bodiedí on the Tesco website and since it didnít strike me as being particularly light or robust, but rather somewhere in the middle, I would say that theyíve hit the mark with this description. It was a truly gorgeous bottle of wine and based on its taste I would definitely buy it again.
What to drink it with
I had a glass of this wine with my tea, which was a rather nice but less exciting tuna/vegetable/cheese thing of my own creation, and it complemented it well. I then finished off the bottle with my boyfriend while we watched telly on the sofa and it was lovely to drink on its own as well. Considering that this is a Spanish wine as opposed to one of any other nationality, I would recommend more that you accompany it with Spanish cuisine, as it will likely be complementary. That said, itís such a lovely wine that you could have it with a bread sandwich or a chippy and it would still taste exceptional, so I would worry too much about what to pair it with, unless you are quite good at matching wines to dishes.
As I said above, a bottle of Castillo San Lorenzo Rioja costs around the £11-13 mark, but at time of purchase was on offer at half price. As my mother always taught me (and this fact may make me ever so slightly middle class), I always try to get wines that are pretty expensive at full price but reduced to something much more reasonable, as opposed to buying wine which is an average price all the time. Since with wine, even more so than most other commodities, higher price generally translates to higher quality, buying cheap plonk really is a false economy. While ideally I would always buy bottles priced at £10+, my current budget will sadly not allow this, so itís worth grabbing them while theyíre on offer.
In any case, this bottle falls into the higher than average for supermarket wine category, and you can really tell when you taste it. I generally end up getting £7-8 bottles when theyíre reduced to £5 or so, and while they are usually very nice wines, this Castillo San Lorenzo Rioja was a cut above. If I could afford it (or justify spending the money, anyway) I would definitely buy wines of this calibre (and therefore price) all the time, but since at full price itís out of my price range, I will have to watch out for offers. At half price it is most definitely worth spending the money on and I would say that, if you can afford to buy it full price, then it is also worth buying a bottle or two.
To conclude, this wine is an f-ing gorgeous one and I will definitely buy it again. I generally prefer red wine to white anyway (and will tolerate rosť if the situation requires) but this rioja really blew me away. Despite its relatively higher price tag (although it is by no means Ďexpensiveí as far as wine goes, considering bottles can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds), it is definitely worth buying if you want a good bottle of red. It is available to buy in Tesco supermarkets and I assume many other shops and supermarkets as well, but youíll have to have a look. Itís currently unavailable on the Tesco website and this fact is torturing me, as were it available, it would only cost £23.40 for a case of six bottles. Hopefully itíll be available again while the price is still so low, as itís so nice that Iíd sacrifice my food budget for the week in order to be able to buy a case of it. I hear it goes very nice with porridge and gruel, anyway.tro