This week we are pleased to call to your attention a splendid Rioja from Spain, the 2009 Marqués de Cáceres Crianza, readily available around Tampa Bay at wine shops, wine-savvy markets and some supermarkets from about $11 to $15.
This smooth but complex red is a blend of tempranillo (85 percent) and garnacha tinta and graciano, aged in oak for 12 months and in the bottle for 10 months. The Crianza is a wine bottled only in vintage years; that is, years when the grape harvest is exceptional.
This one is a lovely dark ruby red in the glass and proffers a rich and enticing bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, a touch of warm spice and a smidgen of ripe black fig. Dark fruits dominate on the tongue, especially blackberry and black currant tempered by warm spice and a whiff of cedar smoke. It is mouth filling and lush, its full-blown tannins cradling the smoothly modulated flavors in a wine of character and good body. It finishes long and satisfying.
It certainly will pair well with a wide range of Mediterranean dishes, even fish in a red sauce, but it also is a fine choice when you fire up the grill for any and all red meats, including full-flavored sausages like merguez.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.