Rioja, but not as you know it – two to try for around €10

Weekend wines: These bottles from Dunnes are all about vibrant, youthful fruit

We love Rioja in this country, but we tend to head straight for the bottles marked Reserva.  Nothing wrong with this but Rioja makes a number of other styles, including white, rosé and a range of red wines. In the near future we can expect to see sparkling white and rosé under the label Espumoso de Rioja.

Rioja Reserva must be aged for a minimum of three years, including at least one in oak barrels, and six months in bottle. Gran Reserva, only made every few years, must spend at least five years ageing, a minimum of two in oak cask and two in bottle. These are a minimum and producers often mature their wine for longer, giving a softer more developed wine. The idea is to sell a wine that has been matured for you, one that is ready for drinking the day you buy.

However, Rioja doesn’t have to be aged for long periods in oak. The two wines I feature today are all about vibrant, youthful fruit and have not seen the inside of an oak barrel. Neither suffer as a result. Both are from Dunnes Stores, although the Campo Viejo is widely available elsewhere too.

Campo Viejo Rioja Blanco 2020 €10.50 from Dunnes Stores
Floral aromas, and a palate rich in mango and pineapple tropical fruits offset by a crisp citrus acidity. This would be great with light salads, creamy goat's cheese and herby grilled chicken. €10.50 from Dunnes Stores.


El Circulo Rioja Tempranillo 2019 €9.50 from Dunnes Stores
Bright red cherry and raspberry fruits with a smooth rounded finish. Perfect with white meats; pork chops or lightly spicy chicken, or milder cheeses.