Marqués de Cáceres 2004 Rioja Crianza ($15.99)
Dark garnet, with reddish-violet glints against the light. Bright red-cherry aromas, signature Tempranillo, with back notes of raspberry liqueur that adds a nuance of complexity and may reflect the Garnacha. Juicy cherry-berry flavors and mouth-watering acidity on the palate, invites service at the dinner table, with just a homeopathic whiff of oaky vanilla more apparent toward the long, tart finish. It takes a second taste to bring out some tannic astringency, but it's soft and easy, making for a Rioja that will cellar but is mighty easy to drink right now. US Importer: Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, Ala. (Jan 26, 2009)
FOOD MATCH: Like virtually all dry reds, it's a great match with red meat; its relative elegance and grace pair it nicely, too, with lighter meats and poultry. It made a fine, if unexpected, winter-evening match with an old-fashioned chicken pot pie.
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