I strolled around a huge tasting the other day and was particularly enthused when I hit the Artadi table. These are always great wines and, of the eight bottles, all red, all fascinating, and topping out at an eye-watering £200, my favourite, the highest scoring and most delicious, was Viñas de Gain. It also happened to be the least expensive of the bunch, too.
This is a sensational Spanish red and, in one bottle, it sums up everything I love about tempranillo. Made from organically grown grapes, sourced from select 20- to 30-year-old vineyards, it gets treated to 12 months in posh French oak, and this adds gloss and bravado to proceedings. While I love what American oak does to great Rioja, I cannot abide the Benylin and stale floor mop aromatics of cheap Rioja, which is usually infected with the worst notes from dirty, old American oak barrels.
Viñas de Gain is so pristine and bold on the nose and palate it makes you sit up in your chair. It is glossy, confident, impeccably turned out and will age perfectly for ten years. It is a gripping example of a big red that walks up to the precipice of true balance and stands, resolute, admiring the view.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)