Every weekend our senior year of college Josh would head to the store and return with a bottle of Marqués de Cáceres Crianza Rioja. He liked it because it reminded him of Spain, we liked it because it was delicious. For his other roommates, myself included, it was the first “nice” wine we consumed, and his drinking it made him seem a bit more refined than the rest of us plebeians who were still into light beer and beer pong. It’s also why most of the ladies in our life at the time thought Josh was a cultured gentleman, while the rest of us were still boobs.
Years after college, this Crianza is still one I find myself going back to. Sure there’s a nostalgia piece, but it’s also a really great buy. In college spending $12 on a bottle of wine felt like a lot – especially when a sixpack was $7.99 – but I now know how hard it can be to find a quality bottle at this price point, and Marques de Caceres definitely is. This wine isn’t a showstopper, or one you’d bring to dinner with the boss, but it’s fantastic for summer barbecues or a night in with a delicious meat and cheese plate.
Poured in the glass it’s a dark purple with aromas of raspberries, cherries and vanilla – which comes from the oak. Crianza’s have a really nice acidity, similar to Pinot Noir, and that acidity is very present in this wine as well. It’s also incredibly smooth, with only a slight amount of mouth-drying tannins. It’d be perfect alone or with a burger.
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Crianzas are also a great value. They aren’t aged as long as Reservas or Gran Reservas, but they still see a bit of oak, which helps smooth them out and soften them a bit. And because they aren’t aged for an incredibly long time, they still have a bit of youth, making them a great candidate to be served chilled, which is how we’d serve it all summer long.