Over the objections of my wife I got a Paella pan and a Spanish cookbook for Christmas. Trying it out for the first time, I went for a (nearly) classically styled Valencian Paella. To pair with this creation I pushed for a white but my wife was kind enough to let me use her kitchen, so I relented and poured some Riojas for dinner.
The 2000 Sierra Cantabria Coleccion Privada was a spectacular Rioja, and one of the best wines I tasted over the holidays. Ruby red with a tinge of brick in the glass, it regaled us with a gorgeous, perfumey nose - violet, rose and lavender, cooked berries, leather and musk, cloves, allspice, tobacco, smokey figs - an olfactory delight. The palate? Harmonious - dry velvety tannins and crisp acidity combine with crisp cherry fruit and a nice, soft texture and a long finish to deliver near perfection. In its prime, but this could be cellared for a few more years. A terrific value - yes, even at this price.
cork. 14% alcohol
Price: C$45 (SAQ)
On another night the 2001 Finca Allende "Vina Olvido" (Rioja) could have been a star, but that's show biz. Cherry red in the glass, it presented an attractive but uncomplex nose of smoke, milk chocolate, and prunes. But don't let that discourage you, as it tasted great. Juicy, spicy and elegant with nice, crisp acidity and modest fruit. Aging very well (I have had a few bottles over the years), but now is the time to enjoy this bottle.
cork. 12.5% alcohol
Price: C$36 (Opimian)
And the paella? Well, let's just say that Joe needs to cook more and drink less - I used a store-bought chicken stock that was WAY too salty. The crowd reached for their water more than they reached for the wine...(a first in my house)