Thursday, 3 December 2009

Mayor De Migueloa

I'm not sure how to discuss wine without sounding like a pretentious knob. But I've been called worse, so here goes...

Mayor De Migueloa is a small Rioja producer in Laguardia, northern Spain, with underground cellars built in 1619. But it's also a restaurant and hotel, where M and I were lucky enough to spend a rainy weekend last month (more here). Arriving late at night after a two-hour drive from Bilbao airport, we ordered a bottle of their 2001 Reserva and soon began declaring our undying loyalty to the place. It was so good we bought another to smuggle back to London. Ok, it wasn't really smuggling, but let's just say Easyjet doesn't exactly encourage imports.

Last night we decided it was time to pull out our souvenir and remind ourselves why Rioja rules ok. And it does - especially alongside generous servings of jamon, manchego and chorizo.

They call Tempranillo (the base ingredient of Rioja) "the noble grape", and it's certainly a class above the rest IMHWO (in my humblest wine opinion). When it comes to Mayor De Migueloa's Reserva the aromas and flavours are chocolate and black cherry. But in contrast to the cloyingly sweet happy endings you get from some full-bodied reds, its finish breathes smoke, oak, and earth.

Weird to think these grapes (aged for at least three years between barrel and bottle) were harvested eight years ago, around the time M and I first met. It seems almost unreasonable to have disposed of the bottle so willingly. And yet I like to think these grapes got a good send off.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

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