Sale $13.95, Regular
Discount (until Jan. 31): $2.00
LCBO # 426981 | 750 mL bottle
Tastes like: Cherry and red fruit, notes of wild meadow, vanilla and spices.
Pairs with: Red sauce, pizzas of many colours, lamb, pork sausage, grilled wild boar.
Good for: Fending off the chills with some friendly woody spices.
Why we're drinking this
In cold weather, a heftier wine suits. Not heavy, but hefty. Riojas in general are a good bet, as ripe red fruit, a pleasant earthiness and noticeable vanilla-oak spices are the prime characteristics. Different wineries emphasize different characteristics — but any or all three are good enough on their own, if kept in balance. Tempranillo is the grape. This “special” wine is big brother to the cheap and cheerful $12.95 Beronia Rioja that’s a regular LCBO crowd-pleaser. For the Especial, try to get the 2012, which you can still find here and there — it’s more rounded and textured, smooth but with just a little bit more, uh, “heft.”
The nose: bang-up joyous ripe red cherry and raspberry, sweet vanilla and oak spice, and alluring earthy notes. The taste: more of the same, a little more blue and black fruit in the 2012s. The bright fruit and supple texture makes it great for sipping. For food, it offers a solid structure, soft but present tannins, good acidity and an earthy, spicy finish. Think big for eats: root veg stew, meaty lasagna, lamb, grilled venison sausage, pizza.
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