I will keep this short and sweet as I am finding myself in a brief moment of clarity amidst a myriad haze of cold medicine. Merely fifteen minutes ago I was whining to Jay that I didn't feel like tasting wine but I HAD to. This was necessary since I had a very small window of nasal freedom that my medicine had allowed me so I could taste and smell the wine. In that small window of time, as the liquid touched my lips, it was as if the sky opened, my head cleared, and my clogged sinuses washed away. Thank God for giving me the strength to bear my difficult job of tasting wine. Now, I must tell you about the 2009 Sierra Cantabria Crianza Rioja.

Family owned since 1870, Sierra Cantabria lies at the foothills of the mountains of the same name and has passed down it's passion for viticulture and winemaking over five generations. This commitment shines through in the wines as they produce elegant, structured wines that are worthy of age while still being approachable and delicious in youth. Thus, we have a Crianza (basically entry level) wine from 2009 that is still enjoying the best days of its life.

The 2009 Sierra Cantabria Crianza is 100% Tempranillo and spent 14 months in a combo of American and French oak. Winemaker Marcos Eguren says the wine is meant to be "fruity and aromatic, elegant and fresh, sweet tannins, velvety, complex and balanced". Though English may not be his first language, this does sum up the wine perfectly. Jay and I found aromas of blueberry, violet, and spice to be at the forefront. Jay even picked up a hint of lavender, which I can see as there is a definite potpourri element to the wine. On the palate, the wine is elegant and medium bodied, incredibly soft and silky, with a nice gentle tannin to guide it along. On the finish, I detected a hint of cocoa and smoke behind it's dominant berry flavors. This will pair well with gouda, pork steaks, and laughing at Oscar nominations.

Sierra Cantabria's 2009 Crianza normally retails for $19.99 but the distributor is backed up on vintages so they have temporarily lowered the price to a steal at $14.99. It comes in 12 pack cases and will be $161.90 for the case with your 10% discount. If you need further convincing, Stephen Tanzer's International Cellar gave the wine 90 points and a whole lot of love as well.

Thanks for reading and let us know!


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