A traditionally framed 100% tempranillo Rioja carefully aged in oak for two years. The 2012 is round, smoky and smooth, and was selected by Decanter Magazine as one of their 50 top ‘Best-buy Riojas’ – it was the best value of all 50 too!
Product Code: WS-SP11361
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Bodegas Palacio is located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, at the bottom of the road leading up to Laguardia, a spectacular fortified hilltop village set against the backdrop of the Sierra Cantabria. The original stone-built bodega, now a small hotel, was first superseded by a rather four-square winery, but was replaced with a new, modern winery in 2014. Palacio was founded in 1894 by Don Cosme de Palacio, an entrepreneur from Bilbao, one of the pioneers of winemaking in the region who made many positive changes, including the introduction of ageing in oak barrels. After a period under French ownership in the 1980s, during which Bordeaux guru Michel Rolland consulted here, Palacio was acquired in the 1990s by Hijos de Antonio Barcelo, one of Spain’s largest winemaking conglomerates, itself part of the giant Acciona group. Thanks to a high level of investment, Palacio has been able to expand, modernise and thrive. This is an unusual enterprise in many respects. It buys in most of its fruit from a long-established network of contract growers, effectively controlling 255ha of vineyards, all in the Alavesa. It concentrates almost exclusively on tempranillo and viura, though in the new alta expresión white, Cosme 1894, there is a touch of malvasia. The winery has a 13,000 barrel capacity and exports a third of its production. A number of distinctly different bottlings reflect the bodega’s historical French bias, from the almost bordelais El Portico (named after the ornately carved door of the church of San Bartolome in Logroño), to the high-definition prestige cuvée, Cosme de Palacio developed by Rolland.. More true to regional style is Glorioso, though its maturation – six months each in French and American oak – is hardly typical. This is an outfit which does its own thing, to be sure, and does it well, if the medal tally from international fairs and shows is anything to go by. Bearing little resemblance to any of these in style – Glorioso is perhaps the closest – is The Socety’s Rioja , which is also made here., The head of winemaking, forty-something Roberto Rodriguez [Martinez] has worked here since the tender age of 18: his deep understanding both of his craft and of the plots at the bodega’s disposal enable him to preselect, in anticipation of the buyer’s final blend, a range of appropriate component wines that he knows will both appeal to members and maintain the consistency and quality of this best-seller.A last word about Cosme Palacio 1894, Palacio’s newest prestige project, named in honour of Palacio’s founder and year of establishment, and developed with input from consultant winemaker Sam Harrop MW. The white is a remarkable viura-based blend, with a little malvasia and garnacha blanca, from very old, low-yielding vines grown at up to 800m, The red is 90% tempranillo with 10% graciano. The inaugural 2007 vintage was released in 2010 and has already won critical acclaim.
Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. Rioja Alavesa – Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and garnacha blanca for whites. Chalk and clay soils proliferate. Generally, the wines of Rioja Alavesa are considered the most finely balanced of Rioja reds.Rioja Alta – Elegant reds are considered the hallmark of Alta wines. A great chunk of the major producers are based in Rioja Alta, concentrated on the town of Haro. Warmer and a bit drier than Alavesa, it also enjoys slightly hotter, more Mediterranean influenced summers and has a range of clay based soils. The reddish, iron rich clays provide a nurturing home for tempranillo while those bearing a chalkier element support the white viura well. Alluvial soils closer to the river are often home to malvasia for blending in to whites. In this area mazuelo is a regular addition to Rioja blends, providing some tannic sinew and beefing up the colour, and the reds here will often take a more significant underpinning of oak.Rioja Baja – Most of Rioja Baja is south of the Ebro and further south and east of its neighbouring sub-regions. Summers in Rioja Baja are more often than not very warm and dry, with vineyards at lower elevations than its neighbours. Consequently soils are predominantly silt and other alluvial deposits with little chalk present, and garnacha reigns supreme among the red varieties because of its ability to deal almost effortlessly with the heat. As a rule, reds from Baja are higher in alcohol and less elegant than in Alavesa and Alta, though of course there are always exceptions and particularly so as viticulture and winemaking improves with every passing year.RIOJA CLASSIFICATIONS AND STYLES EXPLAINED The official Rioja classification is a guarantee of the amount of ageing a wine has undergone. Usually the best wines receive the longest maturation but this does not guarantee quality, which is why it is just as important to follow producer. Crianza: Minimum two years (with at least 12 months in barrel)Reserva: Minimum three years (at least 12 months in barrel)Gran Reserva: Minimum five years (at least 24 months in barrel)What can be confusing is that producers use different ageing techniques (for example some might use American oak, others French, others a mix of both) which will influence the style, structure and flavour of the wine. To help you find the style you like we have split the wines into the following designations. Traditional: Fragrant, silky wines from long ageing in cask (usually American oak) and bottle; ready to drink on release. Modern-classical: Younger, rounder wines that retain the delicious character of Rioja through cask ageing (often a mix of American and French oak) with the structure to develop in bottle. Modern: Richer, velvety wines aged for less time in newer (usually) French oak; released earlier and may need keeping.
An excellent Rioja vintage of very low yields, following a blazing summer that was refreshed by late rain. The dry conditions led to small berries with thick skins so tannins and concentration are the dominant factors. Acidity is a little lower than growers would have liked so the wines are not always in absolutely perfect harmony but this is nonetheless a very good vintage indeed. Similar conditions prevailed in Ribera del Duero but there is more optimism among growers and winemakers there for better balanced wines. Priorato, along with the rest of Catalonia, basked in a hot summer for the third vintage on the trot, but this time leavened with a little rain, and though the wines are certainly ripe they are also balanced and capable of ageing.Navarra had a very pleasing vintage with all red varieties ripening well with yields down on the norm.La Mancha suffered an exceptionally dry year even for this arid region, and yields were very low, making for concentrated wines with acidity a little lower than is usual. In the Levant, quality is good, particularly in Jumilla where heavier rains at the end of harvesting were avoided and what there was freshened the vines at the right time.
"I may be being harsh, this was a nice rioja and value for money, but lacked body and complexity. I say i might be harsh as id certainly order it again, its priced at what it is and i will reorder"
"In previous years I have much enjoyed this wine however, the 2012 is a little disappointing, lacking character and depth. Never the less it still represents value for money."
"Great entry level crianza Rioja: medium-bodied, soft and warm with intense aromas of vanilla and strawberries. The flavour is medium-bodied and quite rich with soft, oaky tannins, some mint & coconut, good, ripe fruit and a little spice; finishing of good length, with buttery and toasty notes"
I would recommend this wine
"In previous years I have much enjoyed this wine however, the 2012 is a little disappointing, lacking character and depth. Never the less it still represents value for money."
"I may be being harsh, this was a nice rioja and value for money, but lacked body and complexity. I say i might be harsh as id certainly order it again, its priced at what it is and i will reorder"
The Daily Mail 11th Mar 2017
"Inexpensive Rioja has
never tasted so good. The reason that this Tempranillo is so delicious is
that it made by superstar winery Bodegas Palacio and it spends two years in oak
barrels, too. Buy all you can! - Matthew Jukes"
"Smooth and fruity quite full. Nice at the price."
Mr Martin Kirby (24-Mar-2016)
"This Rioja is very robust with a sharp edge which needs to breathe for an hour. It will suit many members but not for me."
Mr Douglas Tonks (29-Nov-2015)
"Having thoroughly enjoyed the 2010 offering as a good value wine of which one never tired, the first bottle of 2011 came as a bit of a disappointment. I suppose 'plumper and riper' should have sounded warning bells, but to my palate the thinner and more austere 2010 was much more agreeable. However, judging from the members' reviews of the earlier vintages this should go down a treat with many of your customers."
Mr Andrew J D Johnson (19-Jul-2015)
Decanter (27th Jan 2016)
consistently good year after year, and outstanding value. The palate is fresh,
full of dark cherries with a good firm grip from ageing in US oak. There's no
doubting this is Rioja! Made by Bodegas Palacios, just outside Laguardia in Rioja
Alavesa. - Sarah Jane Evans"
howtodrink.co.uk (3rd Jul 2015)
"Does the job, rounded
and bright and not too oaky (some American oak) and crimson tasting. V good
value for every day.- Victoria Moore"
"Was recommended this by a member of staff........totally the best move .......so easy going."
Mr Neil Atkinson (14-Jun-2015)
"Nice fruit with a little peppery spice at the end. A gentle, approachable,easy drinking, every day Rioja."
Mr James Clark (18-Apr-2015)
"Bought for the Christmas period as my guests really enjoy Rioja. Have to say I was very disappointed , the wine seemed to lack any real flavour and tasted rather unpleasant. I also ordered the house claret and burgundy which were excellent so the Rioja was a great disappointment for the family gathering. If I had bought from Majestic would definitely have returned my purchase as close by......."
Mr Clive Wolfenden (06-Jan-2015)
"Tried a couple of bottles of this wine without decanting, and found it a little too sweet and lacking in body. Have just drunk it after decanting and leaving it for over an hour and was pleasantly surprised by the transformation. It had really come together, and I would recommend it now."
Mr Harry Chapman (26-Dec-2014)
"Remember this when around £5pb and it did the trick then, but a few yers later this offering is OK but nothing more than that. There is better value, for similar price, within the WS Spanish red list"
Mr Terence Eastham (22-Dec-2014)
"I'm a new member so thought the House Rioja would be a safe bet. Mine is 2010 vintage. Disappointing. Thin, not much fruit, but I can taste the oak. I'm sure this wasn't what The Wine Society thought they were getting either."
Mr Frederick Matthews (26-Jul-2014)
"What a disappointment. No fruit, no vanilla; rien, de nada, nothing. Given the quality of the WS buying team and huge disparity between reviews, surely there must be a problem at the winery. Certainly we'll be asking for our money back on this one."
Mr Rory Bremner (05-Jun-2014)
"Having loved this wine in my first mixed case I recently purchased a case of the 2009. This has turned out to be a real disappointment as it is hardly recognisable as Rioja and poor value for money.
Mr Robert Eade (05-May-2014)
"OK, I read the reviews and tried one bottle. Decanted and served fairly warm warmed as recommended. If I had tasted it alone I might have said that it was too delicate for my palate, but my guests and I all agreed in the end that it lacked flavour and character. Not the first time I have preferred a more gutsy cheap supermarket variety to a Wine Society selection."
Dr David Rickeard (05-May-2014)
"I have bought the Society's Rioja 3 times in the last 12 months and have received 3 different vintages, 2007, 2009 and now 2010. When the vintage is on the label why doesn't the Society show it in the notes. Comments in relation to a vintage 3 years ago are clearly not relevant to the wine sold today."
Mr David Jones-Percival (25-Apr-2014)
"Thin, flat, vapid. Tried early April 2014. I have emailed the WS and asked for a credit note against my next order. My first complaint."
Mr Adrian Holliday (05-Apr-2014)
"Previously I have bought this wine in the past and it has been really good quality and as fans of Rioja generally we have enjoyed its well rounded flavour. I bought half a case of this wine recently and have been very disappointed with its 'thin' flavour and just not tasting very nice at all. A pity as The Society's wines (both budget and more expensive bottles for special occasions) usually are very good value and live up to reviews."
Mr Nicholas Dell (01-Apr-2014)
"I have to say this is a staple of our Society order list. Good flavour, nicely oaked and well liked by all who enjoy it. Better ones out there? Yes, of course, but not at this price."
Mr Guy Reynolds (27-Mar-2014)
"This is a lovely wine but it is Jekyll and Hyde. Drink it straight from the bottle and it will likely be flat and acidy. Aerate and oxidize and warm up the temperature a bit and it transforms into a delicious, smooth and much more complex wine. I know this will horrify you wine buffs, but open the bottle, let it stand in hot water for a couple of minutes to remove any chill and then pour through an aerator. Trust me, it works. If you don’t have the magic device, simply pour one glass, put your thumb over the opening and shake the bottle vigorously to get as much air into the wine as possible, ( I have visions of The Wine Society staff cringing at this point, but just do it, then tell me I am wrong). This is a very drinkable wine."
Mr John Hindle (25-Mar-2014)
"Having read some of the reviews submitted by other members, I question whether we're all drinking the same wine. My bottles of Society Rioja are labelled 2009 - perhaps others have different vintages. I found this wine to be excellent, not just in terms of its value for money, but in terms of pure drinking pleasure. Very well balanced in that it just stays just right side of fruity, helped by the judicious application of oak, I found it unexpectedly complex for such a reasonably priced wine. Sure, it's not a collector's wine, but then you wouldn't expect it to be. I opened it while cooking dinner, and would honestly have been happy to forego dinner in favour of more of this delicious wine. This was the first bottle I opened from a mixed case, which in turn was my first Wine Society order. Highly impressed."
Mr Robin Seaby (08-Jan-2014)
"First bottle from my first Society case - disappointing! Sour and lifeless, not like the notes at all."
Mr Magnus Angus (22-Dec-2013)
"We had this last night. Very disappointing. Had many Riojas in the past and some have been delicious. This is sour and characterless. Just to be sure I've opened a second bottle. No improvement. Very dull indeed. Borders on the unpleasant."
Mr David Briffa (08-Dec-2013)
"Bought two bottles as part of an exercise to try the Society's own label wines. Not favourably impressed with the first one - under-oaked and too tannic for my liking. Will try the second one before making a final judgement."
Mr Malcolm Bridge (06-Dec-2013)
Mr Scott Ness (25-Apr-2013)
"This is a good wine, but not a great example for me. I will continue to buy the Navajas for a few pence more. Although it had a fine perfume, it tasted a bit thin compared to other Crianza on the Society's list and sharpened up during the second glass. I recall I had the same thing occur on the 'Glorioso' from the same bodega. Another 'rogue' bottle for me perhaps? It is a shame as I have found the Society range, on average, to be good examples of type at a fair price."
Mr Aron Hills (25-Mar-2013)
"Just received case of Society`s Rioja Crianza. Nicely rounded and very smooth. Not too oaky. Keeps well for up to 2 days with wine saver stopper but loses it`s edge by third day. But hey! If a wine is worth opening why leave it in the bottle?. Excellent value. I have paid more and had considerably less satisfaction."
Mr Michael Jefferys (12-Mar-2013)
"This is a well balanced Rioja. Easy drinking, ruby fruits."
Mrs Dale McGain (06-Mar-2013)
"So glad to have purchased this Rioja. Was perfect for a Sunday evening shared with friends over a few snacks. A winner and will certainly be buying some more."
Mr Martin Sweeney (29-Jan-2013)
"Dear Mr Brine. The replacements for Mr Morrocco were from the current batch (we do not name vintages on most Society-label wines), which was first made for sale in January of this year and will be available until the end of the year. I hope this information is of help.
The Wine Society (15-Aug-2012)
"Dear Mr Morrocco, could you detail which vintage hit the spot?"
Mr Paul Brine (14-Aug-2012)
"Following my poor review earlier, the wine society offered to exchange my purchase for their subsequent vintage. I am very glad they did, as this one is much better. A good balance of juicy fruit and oak -an excellent example of a good everyday Rioja."
Mr Jack Morrocco (28-Jun-2012)
"With every due respect to the reviewer below, I completely disagree with his conclusion. True, this is not a great wine, nor does it pretend to be, but at this price it is an outstanding everyday red - infinitely preferable to many other offerings that command a much higher price. Don't buy it for a very special party, but if you enjoy a couple of glasses with your mid-week dinner, this is a winner."
Mr Graham D Jones (14-Jun-2012)
"Normally a Rioja fan, throughout various price brackets, this is an enormous disappointment for me. I have steered (and steeled) myself through several bottles now, but have to face facts - this is a very poor Rioja indeed. Avoid."
Mr Jack Morrocco (27-Mar-2012)
Chichester Observer (19th Mar 2015)
"A striking rich red colour and plenty of smooth,
deeply fruity flavours, ideal for robust Easter fare like lamb sprinkled with
rosemary… it would also be great with a good steak and kidney pudding. - Peter Homer"
Western Mail (11th May 2013)
"A sweet generous Rioja full to the brim of ripe red fruits on the bouquet. Relaxed acidity greets the palate as the long, languid juicy fruit tone envelops the tastebuds in this classically structured red which is yet another bullseye for The Wine Society. - Neil Cammies"
Chichester Observer (7th Mar 2013)
"A Rounded, silky character, with mellow tastes plus aromas including whiffs of cedar and vanilla. The crianza designation means the wine has been aged for at least a year in oak barrels. It's made from Spain's classic tempranillo grape, and I was pleasantly surprised by the low price tag in view of the quality. - Peter Homer"
The Wine Gang (Mar 2013)
"Made by Bodegas Palacio from Tempranillo and aged traditionally for a year in American oak barrels, it's no surprise to find that this is a medium-bodied, traditional style, but that's not to say old-fashioned. The nose is spicy and chocolaty with slightly toffeeish vanilla flavours from the oak and the palate is supple and round with red-berry fruit, cedary spice and light tannin. Goes with: Red meat & Dark game, Duck & Mild game. "
"Try one bottle, then order 6 or 12. Excellent example of Rioja"
Mr Anthony R C Lane (17-Aug-2016)
"Very impressive - great depth of flavour and good length - excellent value at this price!"
Mrs Sue Cellan-Jones (20-Jun-2011)
"Thoroughly enjoyed this wine and will order more. Although it is young (for a Rioja) this is an excellent example with strong, ripe fruit flavours dominating but some complexity from tobacco and subtle oak notes coming through. Tannins and acidity are well balanced and the finish is impressively long for a young wine."
Mr James Maylam (03-Jun-2011)
"Following numerous good reviews from other members, I had been looking forward to trying the Society's Rioja Crianza, and it didn't disappoint. The 4/5 years or so since bottling have produced a very relaxed wine, with it's edges softened and a balanced, depth of flavour. Whilst medium bodied, the wine is certainly not thin or lacking in length, and proved to be a good match for soft cheese. I suspect that its balance and body make this an extremely versatile wine that would pair well with most food, or could be enjoyed on it's own."
Mr Matthew Robison (14-Apr-2011)
"Delicious but not what I was expecting. I understand that for many years tempranillo was thought to be related to pinot noir. From the Society's Rioja I can see why, though the wine is no less enjoyable for it."
Mr Leo Barran (28-Feb-2011)
"Hard to believe it is only £6.95 per bottle. Fantastic taste and easy to drink ... this is going to be a staple drink in my home!"
Mr Hugh E Griffiths (15-Dec-2010)
"Soft, supple, replete with a heady vanilla aroma on the nose and approachable, lightly-oaked plummy fruit on the palate. Reasonable complexity showing leathery tobacco on the mid-palate, all held together by beautifully soft tannins. Really good value."
Mr William Davies (13-Dec-2010)
"I visited Bodegas Palacio some years ago and was bowled over by the quality of the wines,which was matched by the beauty of the region and the warmth and generosity of the owners. I can assure members that this wine is made with care and passion and continues to be one of my favourite wines. If you like smooth yet complex wines with a background note of vanilla and oak then this wine is for you."
Mr Peter Laggan (20-Jan-2010)
"I have been ordering this wine since I joined the Society 6 years ago and it has never let me down. I will certainly continue ordering it."
Mrs Susan Ritson (30-Dec-2009)
"Delicious. Full of fruity flavours and a good finish. Will order more."
Mr Ian M Porter (01-Dec-2009)
"An unexceptional ordinary wine."
Mr David Walker (18-Nov-2009)
"Good wine with poultry/game. Not too heavy and was also good with the cheese that followed.
Mr Gordon Burgess (16-Nov-2009)
"We greatly enjoyed this wine. It is full-bodied with great 'nose' and taste."
Dr Peter Sonksen (15-Nov-2009)
"Very nice easy drinking Rioja, and very good value."
Mrs Frances Lonsdale (14-Nov-2009)
"On the recommendation of Sebastian Payne in the summer wines magazine we had the Crianza at our daughter's wedding.
It was highly praised by everyone and as testimony to that it all went. It is very easy to drink and has a great depth of flavour for such a reasonably priced wine. I obviously liked it as I have recently ordered another case. I would recommend it very highly indeed.
Dr C P Taylor (13-Nov-2009)
"It's consistently very good; the winemaker crafts a classic old world wine of very high quality. The quality is such, that my friends often think that its a much more expensive wine. Sometimes they compare the balance and finesse with clarets £15 +, for instance.
This is a regular treat in our house, year after year. Please don't tell everyone!"
Mr Paul Wright (12-Nov-2009)
"We have found it to be superb value, as popular with our 30yr old children as with our older friends, who all seem amazed that it is such a bargain. Compared with loads of overrated, overpriced Riojas on the market, we find it as good as those to be found in Spain for about 15 -20 Euros a bottle. Not overoaky, no nasty sour notes, it has a lovely nose and fulfills its promise nicely."
Mrs Katharine Coleman (11-Nov-2009)
"Rioja as it should be. Oak and vanilla make for an excellent food wine, especially roast lamb.
Anyone who enjoys 'Old World' wines will appreciate this but may require a bit of perseverance if you are a 'New World' fan."
Mr Robert Harvey (11-Nov-2009)
"A really lovely wine! My wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Excellent value for money."
Mr Martin Plaut (11-Nov-2009)
"This Rioja has you grinning from ear to ear with enjoyment. For the length of a bottle, life is considerably better. Rich, deep and achingly tasty. Keep it quiet or they'll all want some."
Mr Jonny McPherson (06-Nov-2009)
"One of the many pleasures in wine drinking is discovering a new bottle of wine that gives you a new taste or aroma that you haven't experienced before. But, sometimes, just sometimes, there is nothing better than uncorking a bottle that you are already familiar with and you know will provide you with guaranteed drinking pleasure. The Wine Society Rioja is just such a bottle. It simply oozes quality, providing that familiar aromatic combination of vanilla and leather that only Rioja Crianza seems to display. The contents seem to disappear far too quickly whether drunk on it's own or with a meal. A true delight."
Mr James Fallon (14-Oct-2009)
"This is my favourite of the Society's wines. It is exactly how a Rioja should be and would put those priced at £30 or more to shame."
Mr David Emes (28-Sep-2009)
"I served the 2005 to accompany a Moroccan lamb dish recently and all guests, some of whom were Wine Society members, were of the view that this very pleasing wine complimented the food brilliantly."
Mr Christopher J Davies (24-Sep-2009)
"Limpid brick red, with an elegant, restrained but rich Tempranillo nose and a hint of oak. Its medium weight belies the ripeness and richness of the fruit and the long, soft, tannic finish. Crianzas are often not this rich, nor indeed so delicious."
Mr Justin Crawford (01-Sep-2009)
"This is a lovely wine and the description on the bottle is justified, although I could not detect the "leather" aroma. The wine is exceptionally smooth and full of a fruity after taste, filling the mouth. Just right for me. My friends also commented on its excellence."
Dr William G Fleming (31-Aug-2009)
"I am a dedicated drinker of wines from the Rioja district and particularly like the unique Spanish classification which lets us know readily the time aged in oak with the influence this has on the flavour of the wine. The 2005 harvest was a good one and I particularly like the Crianza wines. I find this one particularly enjoyable as the Society's Riojas invariably are and it is pleasant with almost any dish but particularly with lamb or venison. A good buy and excellent value for money."
John M Campbell Esq (25-Aug-2009)
"An excellent wine. Everything you would expect from a top-class Crianza."
Harmer C J Parr (19-Aug-2009)
"We are enjoying the full flavour of the above wine and so are our friends. It is excellent."
A Keith Bennett (19-Aug-2009)
"Proper Rioja Crianza. Soft fruit with vanilla overtones. If you can get a better example for the price, I'd like to know about it!"
Dr Ross Worthington (18-Aug-2009)
"Very good and a decent price."
Mr David A Lansdowne (18-Aug-2009)
"I have been buying the Society's Rioja for many years and it is consistently one of my favourite red wines to drink both at dinner, with most meat dishes or with cheese and occasionally for a glass or two on its own. It has a remarkable depth and breadth of flavours with hints of tobacco and chocolate and a lingering "warmth" in the mouth."
Mr Ronald H Kemp (16-Aug-2009)
"I have recently purchased the Society's Rioja Crianza 2005, and indeed have purchased the wine several times in the past. It is a firm favourite of mine - just as a Rioja should be - an enticing aroma, softened tannins.and a full fruity palate. The presentation of the wine is also excellent. The "black" bottle with red and gold label is classic. Very upmarket looking and a bargain at the price.
My husband and I stayed at Boedgas Palacio a few years ago. The bed and breakfast was excellent, as was the tour of the winery. We were told at that time the wine was only sold to Harrods. Laguardia is a most attractive village perched high on a hill with marvellous views of the Rioja Alavesa region. Well worth a visit."
Mrs Shirley Bridges (13-Aug-2009)
"A "safe, reliable, typical, Rioja". There are better wines on the Society's lists, and there are cheaper wines that are just as enjoyable, but if you keep upwards of, say, 60 bottles at home, most people would like to be able to pull up a Rioja from time to time. This one ticks more boxes than any other."
Mr John L Southall (12-Aug-2009)
"Buy a bottle and open it straightaway and it's an unsubtle brash fruity wine. However keep it for a few months before opening and it's smooth and complex and is enjoyable with or without food."
Mr A Fitzhugh (10-Aug-2009)
"My purchase was of a case of the 2005. Soft and rounded it provides a good accompaniment to a range of dishes."
Mr V John Legg (10-Aug-2009)
"I am very fond of Rioja and found this very smooth and excellent value for money."
Mr Patrick Williams (10-Aug-2009)
"A very reliable, good value, wine. The most versatile red we have found, that can be enjoyed in any situation."
Mr Jonathan Sharkey (10-Aug-2009)
"Having just returned from two weeks in France I opened my first bottle of The Society's Rioja Crianza to have a different experience. It was not only different but it was excellent. It is a powerful wine but with some maturity and very enjoyable. I thought that it would be OK when the driver who delivered it said he thought it was very good!"
Mr R T Fox (10-Aug-2009)
"Every cork that has been pulled has revealed a special favour of wine. We drank each bottle with first expectation and quickly followed with heady pleasure. Only three left in the rack so I'm on-line checking the stock."
Mr Paul Baker (07-Aug-2009)
"An excellent wine for the price. Pleasantly luscious and rich."
Mr Anthony J Fisher (07-Aug-2009)
"An elegant and refined style of Rioja, but with length and depth. Some vanilla and spicy notes no doubt resulting from the period of maturation in oak, but not suffering the sickly sweet effect that American oak can sometimes have. To use a musical analogy, more like a Mozart concerto than a Mahler symphony!"
Mr James S Robertson (07-Aug-2009)
"This is a good example of a well-priced rioja offering excellent value for money. The tempranillo grape is evident, there is a slight sweetness plus a medium body, making this an easy drinking wine. Is better than many more expensive supermarket offerings."
Mr Roger Geoffrey Cocks (07-Aug-2009)
"This is one our regular buys. We like Rioja because of its depth of flavour, raspberry fruits and easy drinking qualities, and we have always thought that the Society's Rioja Crianza has been a reliably great example of this wine. We would recommend this to anyone as good quality, reliable wine that goes well with a variety of meals."
Mr Graham A McCusker (07-Aug-2009)
"A big mouthful of a wine - very pleasant and just too easy too drink."
Mr Peter J Jackson (07-Aug-2009)
"We had this at an outdoors party - more buffet than barbecue - and it was highly praised by all of those that tried it."
Mr Karl Wills (07-Aug-2009)
"A very nice, smooth wine for everyday drinking."
Ian Melvin Esq (07-Aug-2009)
"We offered this wine at a dinner party after having finished our last bottle of a very good Crozes Hermitage which everyone had enjoyed, and thinking that it would be acceptable but only as a second best. However, everyone thought the Rioja was even better and were delighted by its fruitiness."
Mr Peter H Mallinson (07-Aug-2009)
"I buy this every year as it is consistently good & value for money."
Mr David A Cunliffe (06-Aug-2009)
"This is a nice smooth wine which conveys all the best aspects of the Region. I have bought this several times over the years and the quality has remained constant. It is probably best drunk with red meat, but it is just as pleasant drunk with tasty fish. If you can decant and let it breath for a few hours you will reap the benefit."
Mr John Herrington (06-Aug-2009)
"I am not a person who can describe a wine by reference to other tastes. For me this Rioja is acceptable but not brilliant. I would not recommend it."
Mr Norman Measey (06-Aug-2009)
"An eminently quaffable wine, medium bodied, smooth and floral - excellent both on its own and with food (equally good with meaty fish - monkfish, for example). Outstanding value for money."
Mr Robert Gower MA FRCO (06-Aug-2009)
"Although I would not claim to be an expert, I have consistently found the Society's Rioja Crianza to be delicious, reliable and good value. It has never let me down."
Mr Richard Lewis (06-Aug-2009)
"Excellent value for money!"
Mr J B Rolph (06-Aug-2009)
"I am a person who lived in Spain for about 25 years and I can say that this wine is an excellent example of a very classy
Rioja at a more than reasonable price. Regrettably, for health reasons, I now live in the U.K."
Mr Raymond F Salter (06-Aug-2009)
"There is one thing my wife and I agree on, we both think The Society's Rioja Crianza is excellent. I cannot think how many years we have been drinking it, but we have used it for two weddings as well as it being our everyday drink."
Mr R G E Chappell (06-Aug-2009)
"Have always had some of the Society's Rioja in stock as it has, over the years, been a consistent good quality Rioja at a sensible price."
Mr Robert S Legget (06-Aug-2009)
"I do not consider myself as a wine connoisseur but manage to consume a fair amount. I have watched Jilly Goolden in the good old days and Oz more recently with the motoring moron. I have to admit that the scent of a wine has never hit me until I had a glass of this Rioja. I put my nose into the glass and it was a really definite perfume. The perfume was equally matched by the taste. I have been a member of the Society for nearly ten years, spent a small fortune on the Society's wine and to date have never been disappointed with any bottle save one. That was a pink in a mixed case but I guess it was just not to my taste and I suppose that there was nothing wrong with the wine. The cat had a small gulp with her milk and she seemed to enjoy it. Caught several mice that day."
Mr Nicholas Taylder (06-Aug-2009)
"Rich and robust though this wine is I am sorry to report that at least 2 bottles of my case have been "headache material"."
Mr John Loyd (06-Aug-2009)
"Excellent light and very flavoursome wine, goes very well with seafood especially Paella with lots of prawns, mussels and scollops. Recommend with pasta too, a great addition to any cellar!"
John D W Portway (05-Aug-2009)
"OK but not exceptional."
Mr Christopher J Yelloly (05-Aug-2009)
"This is really a fine wine. My wife and I enjoy Rioja and we have found over the years, trying a whole range of wines from the Rioja area that the Society's Rioja Crianza is an excellent valued wine and it lives up to its good reputation; not as expensive as some Riojas but its value to an ordinary Member like ourselves, is in its depth of flavour and its overall consistency, that the Society has been able to maintain over many years; this we believe is very important. We can certainly recommend this wine to other Members."
John N Slee-Smith Esq (05-Aug-2009)
Mr Guy Hodgson (05-Aug-2009)
"Was disappointed as first 2 bottles were both oxidised so never got to taste the wine. Returned the case. Interested to hear if others had any oxidised bottles.
Note from The Wine Society:
Mr McClintock returned the remainder of his case to The Society and received a refund. If you believe that a wine purchased from The Society is faulty, please call Member Services on 01438 741177."
Mr David McClintock (05-Aug-2009)
"I have found this wine consistently enjoyable, sunny and rich in flavour, delightful to drink alone [my husband doesn't drink wine] as well as with friends. Sophisticated or not, but very important for me, a bottle of Rioja Crianza open for nearly a week does not lose its quality!"
Mrs Rosemary A Hopkins (05-Aug-2009)
"We love this wine and buy it all the time. We know that it is reliable and will go with many of our favourite dishes."
Mr David Eden (05-Aug-2009)
"A good tasting well rounded Rioja at a price which allows you to have another glass"
Mr Matthew George (05-Aug-2009)
"Were one not to know the price, this wine could have cost twice as much, Enjoyable and good value."
Mr Hamish Orr-Ewing (05-Aug-2009)
"Well balanced, although for me it improves by opening and decanting to air at least six hours prior to serving. It will probably improve over a couple of years, so half the order has been cellared. It suits most meats, preferably with a strongish sauce. Good with most cheeses, apart from very strong ones."
Dr Roger Buckett (05-Aug-2009)
"Stunning quality for the price, should be every members house red."
Mr Richard Hewson (05-Aug-2009)
"A consistent wine, smooth and mellow but with firm flavour and no hint of spice."
Mr David A Ingham (05-Aug-2009)
"We enjoyed this very much. A good depth of flavour and a characteristic Rioja without excessive oak. For the price this is excellent value, a good selection for the Society's list."
Mr Thomas Darbyshire (05-Aug-2009)
"Crianza is the youngest category of ageing for Spanish wine which is aged for two years, with at least six months in an oak barrel. This Rioja is from an excellent Bodega and is left in oak for 12 months which gives it that lovely mellow softness to the tannins. It is a real banker to have on the wine rack, it can be uncorked and drunk straight away, because the first one you lovingly opened to take the air will be devoured by your guests in no time at all. I find this wine is just as good the next day but rarely lasts longer than that!"
Mr Glyn Parsons (05-Aug-2009)
"In 2007 by chance we found a Bodega at Laguardia to stay. Whilst tasting a 2001 Reserva I mentioned that I was a member of the Wine Society -- the reply was 'Toby Morrhalll was here yesterday' !! Naturally we have taken an interest in the Riojas from this Bodega. A very enjoyable Crianza."
Captain John C Judge RN (05-Aug-2009)
"This wine is wonderful value for money, you could easily add at least £5.00 and still think it worth the money. It has good balance and a nice length. A star buy in my opinion."
Mr Thomas R Gibson (05-Aug-2009)
"To my palate I find this Rioja very robust and very pleasant to drink either on its own or with red meat. I have in fact recommended it to friends and relations who when sharing a bottle with all say how good it is."
Mr Anthony Blackett (05-Aug-2009)
"I am no connoisseur, but I am a steady consumer of wine! And after a recent promotion by the Society, I arranged to get a tasting case. The Rioja Crianza 2005 struck me immediately as being a lovely mouthful, beautifully balanced mellow fruitiness. I gave it 10 out of 10, and was pleased to find that it was very reasonably priced. I hope they have some left."
Mr Martin Chaffer (05-Aug-2009)
"Rioja is one of my wife's favourite wines and The Society's Rioja Crianza offers a really good example of the wine for a modest outlay. We have since ordered more and shall continue to do so. We do find The Society's range of wines (with the occasional dip into the Exhibition range!) very good value indeed."
Mr Roger Guy (05-Aug-2009)
"Having bought a case of this wine on 'special offer' I have no hesitation in saying that it is a very palatable and a great bargain,
but I have to ration myself otherwise it would all be gone in five minutes! Added problem is keeping my sons' hands off it ! I'll be back for more in due course."
Dr Kenneth M McFadyean (05-Aug-2009)
"This wine is consistently of a high standard, I have bought many cases over the years and have never been disappointed, neither will you be if you like a good Rioja."
Christopher R Nicholls Esq (05-Aug-2009)
"Perfectly pleasant but nothing special. I don't think I would order a whole case again."
Dr Susan Blackmore (05-Aug-2009)
"I have bought this wine on a number of occasions and we find it extremely palatable for everyday use - it 'goes' with most foods and everyone is always extremely complimentary about it."
Brigadier Adrian R Freer OBE (05-Aug-2009)
"Absolutely delicious everyday red. I prefer white wine but have a case of this to take to people as a present and they are all much impressed. Occasionally I will open a bottle and drink it myself as it is so fruity and smooth. An essential wine to have in stock at a bargain price.
Mrs Amanda Royce (05-Aug-2009)
"Delighted with this wine and have just reordered - i knew i had ordered well with the first glass - the wine has a comfortable full flavour but without the heaviness sometimes found in Rioja - first bottle disappeared in no time! It's exceptional value for a good quality wine, very drinkable on its own or with a variety of cheeses, red meats and roasted chicken."
Mr Rodney N H Moulton (05-Aug-2009)
"Good fruit balanced by possibly a slight excess of acidity.. Smooth tannin."
Mr Brian Wooding (05-Aug-2009)
"Good value. Very enjoyable typical Rioja."
Mr Michael A Roche (05-Aug-2009)
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The Wine Society does not pre-moderate star ratings on products. Ratings published without comment will be published immediately.
The Wine Society does pre-moderate written comments on articles and reviews on products. This means that comments and reviews, and any related ratings, will not be published instantly; they will first be checked by the moderators. Moderators will be monitoring the site between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and will endeavour to process comments and reviews within 48 hours of submission.
Moderation is intended to ensure that content published on The Wine Society website is of value to members and is fair and balanced.
We will normally approve comments for publication as long as they:
We reserve the right to suspend ratings, comments and reviews at any time. Where we choose not to publish a rating, comment or review for a reason other than those listed above, we will reply to the member concerned by e-mail explaining our reasons and inviting them to make appropriate changes so that the rating, comment or review can be reconsidered. We also reserve the right not to publish reviews that mention other wine merchants and competitors.
We may wish to use your comments and ratings in our literature or elsewhere online. Unless you specify otherwise, you are therefore agreeing in posting your comments that The Society has the right to use, edit, publish in any media, delete and/or store the whole or any part or parts of that post, and may quote you by name, without charge and without reference to you or anyone else.
The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
It is generally accepted that alcohol levels in wine have been increasing in the last 20 years. There are many reasons why, but the single most important factor is the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most are intrusive and strip flavour as well as alcohol and we don't buy wines made in this way. In actual fact, more than half of our still table wines have an abv of 13% or less. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's main components of sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Members should refer to the wine's tasting note for a description of the style and fullness of the wine.
The Society is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows them to make their own informed choices. An additional figure is beginning to be used on labels: the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content. Thus a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units of alcohol. All new labels of Society and Exhibition wines will include this information. drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork.
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Now to 2016
Ready to drink now but will keep until 2016.
2018 to 2042
We recommend keeping longer before opening. In 2018 it will be ready to drink but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years.
Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.