This wine comes with a pretty label of five streaks of colour. Due to my limited pouring skills it got a bonus stripe of colour on that label. I mention this not just to excuse taking a photo of a dirty label, but to draw your attention to the colour of the spilt wine, that’s seriously purple, the sort of purple you’d expect to get out of Violet Beauregarde if you squeezed her.
Embeleso Tinto is a entry level wine from Rioja region winemaker Gorka Etxebarria. It spent 10 months in new American oak casks, not barrels. Casks are about twice as big, so there’s less contact, but all the same, that’s a lot of fresh oak. It seems that Naked Wines’ Angel programme fronted him the money for the barrels, giving Naked Wines customers first dibs on the wine.
Once over the shock of the purple, which left heavily coloured legs on the glass, it smells inviting. You can smell the vanilla from the oak, as well as crushed fruit. Not blueberries (so it’s not made from Ms Beauregarde juice), although there was some violet, perhaps that was just my imagination.
It’s dry, with a little sweetness from the fruit and vanillin. The tannins are firm with right there from the first sip. It has quite a big mouth feel, helped by alcohol that nudges beyond medium to high. The flavour see-saws between that oaky vanilla and some raspberry/loganberry fruitiness. It doesn’t linger too long, but does encourage the next sip.
This wine has no pretensions of being a fine, aged Rioja. It is made to be sold and drunk early. It’s perhaps a little more like the wine you drink out of tumblers in friendly bars on the road through from Pamplona to Burgos. That’s intended as a complement, not an insult. It ain’t fancy, but it tastes good.