We're always on the lookout for great wines that over-deliver on quality, but some regions are trickier to find value in than others. Rioja is a prime example. The region's uncontested reign as Spain's most famous has always had an influence on price, with fantastic bottlings that fetch high prices casting a reflective glow on bland, mass-produced examples. The region's classification system is based on the ageing of wine before release, and should theoretically mean that the best grapes are used for wines with the greatest ageing potential - but that's not always the case. All of this combines to make Rioja a region where quality and value can be difficult to predict, which is why finding a wine like Hugonell is such a pleasant surprise!
Made from a blend of 70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha (Rioja's second-most important grape), the Hugonell Rioja Joven is an expressive, modern interpretation of the style. Joven means young, and is used to denote wines that were aged for less than two years before release. The bright flavours of the fruit shine through, and oak influence is minimal, making these wines perfect to be enjoyed soon after release. Serve at a cool 18 C and enjoy within 3-5 years.
The Hugonell Rioja Joven pours a bright, medium ruby-red with slight purple hints.
The nose is classic Tempranillo, with loads of crunchy red fruit like tart cherry, cranberry and field strawberries, along with a sweetness reminiscent of Swedish berry candies. There's a hint of dry leaves, smoke, and vanilla lurking in the background to add complexity to all that bright red berry fruit.
Savoury, fresh and bright on the palate, with balanced acidity and well-integrated tannins. It's medium-bodied, and the long finish is dry and emphasizes refreshing acidity and echoes of the red fruit flavours from the nose. A vibrant, modern take on a classic style that offers a great introduction to Rioja!
Swap this in anywhere you'd use Pinot Noir for a successful pairing and a fun change of pace! Tempranillo is just as versatile, and will match with anything from salmon or poultry to pork, lamb, and game meat.