- 2019 Vallobera Crianza, Rioja, Spain ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s in California)
Rioja is one Spain’s most famous wine regions and is one of only two regions classified under the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) system. Its two most important red grapes are Tempranillo and Garnacha. This particular wine is 100% Tempranillo, one of our favorite old world red wine grapes.
When it comes to Rioja reds, there are 4 categories of ageing to keep in mind:
- Joven – there are no specific requirements here, but these wines tend to be 1-2 years old.
- Crianza – these wines are in their 3rd year, with at least 12 months spent in oak barrels.
- Reserva – when excellent vintages are selected to become Reserva wines, they spend 3 years aging, 12 months minimum of which is in oak, followed by 6 months in the bottle.
- Gran Reserva – wines carefully selected for this process must undergo a minimum of 60 months aging, of which 2 years must be in oak barrels, with another 2 years spent in the bottle
Typically younger wines like Crianza will be lighter in body style, exhibit more fresh fruit characteristics and are suitable to drink while young. Older wines have more developed flavor profiles and earthy characteristics. The extra aging in this Crianza takes the bright red fruit flavor of this Tempranillo and adds some rich, chocolaty flavor.
In the glass, the wine is a translucent purple/red, fresh looking despite its age. Nose is smoke, dried herbs and rich red fruits. Medium bodied with nice round fruit flavors, mocha and plenty of tannic structure. This is a wine that is ready to drink now (maybe pair with a Spanish paella!) or which could be aged for 2-3 more years.
Stay cool people.
Need More Wine Picks from Trader Joe’s – or Costco?
If your search for this wine lands you in Trader Joe’s, take along our handy Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.
And if your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.