$14.95 | Rioja, Spain | 89 Points
If you have not tried the wines of Alavaro Palacios, Spain’s modern viticultural wunderkind, here is a great opportunity at a great price. The scion of a Rioja winemaking family, Palacios is most famous for bringing once-obscure regions like Priorat and Bierzo into the limelight. He has made over his Rioja wines as well, infusing a delicious, fruit-driven drinkability without making them too sweet or oaky.
The taste: This basic Rioja blend of tempranillo and garnacha has seen minimal oak aging. It has a lifted, sweet nose of raspberry and plum jam fruit, fresh herbs and cedar. It’s light- to medium-bodied, smooth, fairly dense and loaded with fruit. It has very good to excellent length—especially notable given the price.
How to drink it: Palacios has done such a good job softening the youthful tannins that you do not need to age this wine to enjoy it. Chill it lightly and pair it with lighter red meat dishes, poultry or game birds, charcuterie or even pasta. It’s also a great little tapas red to pour at the beginning of the night. It should keep in bottle for up to five years, should you buy a case or two and forget to drink them all (which is not very likely).