Reserva-level wines from Spain’s Rioja region are some of the world’s great values. They are required to be aged for at least three years, with at least one of those years in oak. That aging imparts depth and complexity to a good reserva, and it’s costly for the winery. Yet many of the wines sell for $20 or less.
Case in point: the 2013 Rioja Reserva from Bodegas Montecillo, a winery that recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. The wine is mostly tempranillo, with a little mazuelo and graciano. It spent 25 months in French and American oak, then 20 months more in the bottle.
Extended oak aging can leave a wine a little tired and dried out, and that’s a risk with reservas and gran reservas, which are aged even longer. But this wine has plenty of energy and freshness. It’s slightly jammy, with lively red cherry, notes of sandalwood and earth and medium tannins. And it’s a bargain at just $18. The Montecillo Crianza, by the way, costs a few dollars less, and it’s also a great buy.