Three bottles of Tempranillo wine from Ribera del Duero, Spain

We’ve been enjoying three bottles of Tempranillo wine from north Spain over this stormy Easter weekend: Ribera del Duero of Marques de Almeida 2014 (Sainsburys £7.99), Allende la Vega 2013 (Waitrose £9.99) and Reserva 2011 (Tesco £6.99). They’re not quite cheap enough for “everyday” drinking neither are they in the “special occasion only” price range. All three have surprised with their complex flavours from a single grape wine. Here are our notes and conclusions.

Reserva 2011 (Tesco £6.99). Tesco Finest branding.
Very nice bouquet: intense single grape Tempranillo. Strong, very tannic, 14%.
My companion tasted this wine as very strong but bitter, reminiscent of raw sloe fruit rather than plum.
Colour: red veering to indigo.
Benefits from airing in the glass, gaining smoothness and richness.

Allende la Vega 2013 (Waitrose £9.99).  Appears to be native branding (ie Spanish).
Less nose or bouquet, smoother and less tannic than Tesco Reserva 2011.
Rounder. Smoother after-taste. Same underlying taste but more obviously plum. Colour: blue.
Overall, a rounder, more immediately pleasant glass, not so edgy. 13.5%

Marques de Almeida 2014 (Sainsburys £7.99). Composition cork. Sainsburys Taste the Difference branding.
Tannic/aggressive style as the Tesco Reserva 2011.
Clearly a different style than the Waitrose Allende la Vega 2013
Clearly plum taste in the glass. Colour: ruby red.
Youngest wine and the most tannic.

Comments
The Tesco Reserva 2011 is older but more aggressive, it hasn’t rounded-out with ageing. It tastes at least two years younger than the label date suggests.
Waitrose Allende la Vega 2013 is ready to drink, Tesco Reserva 2011 is either still too young or will go thin before it rounds out.
Either Waitrose buy a better bottle or 2013 was a better year. Or Tesco and Sainsbury select for the “British taste”.

Conclusions
Keep the more expensive but less aggressive Waitrose Allende la Vega 2013 for something more subtle. Tesco Reserva 2011 and Sainsburys Marques de Almeida 2014 for more general drinking. Risk that Tesco Reserva 2011 may go thin if kept.

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