On occasion, I sit next to a normal at a wine conference. After a few minutes of awkward conversation, they invariably ask me one question:
“What is your favorite wine?”
I don’t have an answer to that question. I mumble something about footwear and wander off. I probably should start saying Rioja. After all, it’s the answer to most questions: Where should I go on vacation? Where are my socks? What should I have for dinner? You know I’m right.
One of the great truths of Rioja is that quality standards are ridiculously high. They bottom out somewhere around “very good” and crescendo somewhere around “sell your soul for another bottle.” The pricing is also tricky; good bottles can be had for $8, and amazing ones for less than $40.
Montecillo is a standard in the world of Rioja, and I’ve reviewed their wines on many occasions in the past decade. This bottle offers up scents and flavors of an old farmhouse: firewood, saddle, and dried flowers. The palate is soft and rich, with notes of dark fruit and earth. The finish turns towards espresso and allspice.