Many lovely red wines come from Spain's Rioja region, some grand, others more humble. Midway along that spectrum falls Campo Viejo Tempranillo, the 2010 vintage going for about $10 at supermarkets and the like, making it both accessible and very well priced.
Tempranillo grapes make very food-friendly wines. This one starts off chummy with a fruity black cherry nose tempered by a bit of mellow tobacco. Big black cherry and cherry cola dominate upfront on the tongue but welcome modifiers of bitter chocolate and tangy blood orange enter at mid palate and ramp up the wine's complexity considerably. A little black coffee pops up on a medium long finish, sweeping away any hint of cola sweetness. The palate is cleansed and ready for the next sip or next bite.
Tempranillo pairs nicely with a wide range of robust foods but it should go especially well around here with Cuban roast pork redolent of garlic and citrus.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.