Antano Gran Seleccion Rioja 2009

Whilst not a cheap wine by my standards I still managed to bag this
Posted 28th May 2012        

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Whilst not a cheap wine by my standards I still managed to bag this £8.99 Spanish red for a very reasonable £4.49, and I’m really hoping this is the one.

On pouring I am immediately transported into a scene from Twilight because this looks more like a glass of A-negative than red wine; it’s a thick, dark and sticky looking reddish black, but maybe that’s a good sign (if you’re a vampire).

With the first sip I can taste a nutty, fruity mix of plums, black cherries and wood smoke – quite pleasant so far but that’s just the first sip. However, it’s certainly not as full bodied as I had expected and there is a slight watery consistency to it (why, this isn’t blood at all). A little disappointing but, for the sake of this review, I must soldier on.

And there it is, that dreaded oakiness. I really should make more of an effort to read the labels before I buy, but, like a true fighter I will continue with my quest and put all thoughts of chewing on a bag of wood chippings to one side whilst I concentrate on the other facets of this rather sacrificial looking red.

It’s no good, I just can’t get past the oak, while there are lots of wonderful fruity bursts going on with this wine, the more I drink the more aware I become of the intense oaky tones, they just seem to get stronger and stronger with every sip. Sip, oh who am I kidding, every great gobful I take.

In fact, this is turning into a bit of a weird night, I began reliving a scene from Twilight and I am now being transported back in time to the age of five where I spent around an hour locked in granny’s great oak wardrobe inhaling the dusty, worm-riddled, woody aromas mixed with the pungent, nasal hair burning stench of moth balls.

I’m not, technically, saying that this wine tastes like a combination of Victorian wooden bedroom furniture and insect repellent but, unfortunately, and, somewhat out of character for me, I cannot drink more than two glasses.

I think this is perhaps where I show my ignorance when it comes to wine because, according to the bottle, this Rioja is the best in Spain and I’m pretty sure all those Spanish guys and gals can’t be wrong, but I’m sorry I’m just not feeling it and I’m still trying to pluck imaginary dead moths off my T-shirt.

I guess it all comes down to the oaky thing; I just hate that woody taste. Strange really because I love smoked fish, smoked meat and 40 B&H, but this I can’t deal with.

In my desperation I turn to my husband and tell him that all I want is to find a good bottle of red that doesn’t have that overbearing oak flavour. He said it’s doubtful that I’ll ever find one, but I know I will, I’ve had them before but, if I’m completely honest, my obsession with my elusive and much-longed-for red has set precedence and nothing will ever live up to that rich, porty goodness.

I’m sorry my dear friends, you sustain me during the week and send me into oblivion at the weekends but I’m using you. I pick you up off the shelf in the hope that you’ll meet my expectations, drink you down with fervour and then diss you.

I’m shallow and fickle and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve put my ‘special red’ on such a high pedestal that I’ve blown its rich, fortifying flavour out of all proportion.

Anyway, whilst this wine is certainly not completely unpleasant and may be better served with a meal – which we rarely do as we eat earlier than we drink – I have to be honest and say this is just not the one for me and I shall not be picking this one up from the supermarket again (unless I forget the name and label and think “Ooh, that looks nice, perhaps I’ll try that one for a change, maybe it’s my elusive red”).


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Meet the Author:
Kirsty Wilson works as a freelance writer and lives with her two nightmare children and biker husband in the village of Malborough in 'sunny' Devon. She discovered her love of writing from an early age and vowed that, one day, she would earn a living doing what she loved the most. Kirsty’s second love, apart from the nightmare kids and hubby, is wine, be it red, white or rosé, and Kirsty loves the challenge of being able to unearth a good wine for as little cost as possible. Now Kirsty has the best of both worlds as writing wine reviews for and allows her to combine the two things she is most passionate about.