Bodegas Montecillo Crianza - 2003

The second wine I looked at for Spanish Wine Week is a 2003 Crianza from the Rioja region. A wine labeled as a "Crianza" is aged at minimum two years, with at least one year spent in oak. Age-wise this is the second rung up in Rioja. The other classifications are Rioja, Reserva and Gran Reserva. Each has specific, minimum aging requirements in oak and bottle to be labeled as such. Tempranillo is the predominant red varietal in this region. The Bodegas Montecillo Crianza has a nose that gives off cherry, oak and a subtle bit of vanilla. It's Montecillo Crianzapretty tart and a touch rough around the edges out of the bottle. Decanting for about 45 minutes softens the edges and diminishes the tartness. This wine is light bodied and the mid-palate features sour cherry flavors and white pepper notes. In some ways it's similar in body and flavor characteristics to Chianti in a similar price range. The finish is below average in length, featuring more of the above-mentioned sour cherry notes. Overall it's a fairly one-dimensional wine. Not unpleasant to drink, but not really impressive in any way either.

Bodegas Montecillo Crianza retails for around $9.00. With the bounty of great deals on Spanish wines in this price range it's impossible for me to recommend this bottle. At best it's a pedestrian offering which does not do a very good job of representing the fine wines coming out of Spain as a whole and Rioja specifically. I should note that I have greatly enjoyed Bodegas Montecillo Reserva and Gran Reserva offerings in the past.

Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, LTD. 

Spanish Wine week continues through the weekend so keep checking back!