Monte Real Rioja is a range of top Rioja wines produced by Bodegas Riojanas. The range covers Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva styles, among others. Along with other well-established names like Baron de Ley Rioja and Ramon Bilbao Rioja, Monte Real is one of Spain’s most popular exports. Though we love Rioja – and Spanish wines generally – the wine world is big and we’re all about expanding horizons. If you’re a fan of Monte Real Rioja, this article is for you: Read on for our handy guide that will present three top French wines that you should seriously try instead!
If you like Monte Real Rioja Blanco, try this!
Remember that white Rioja wine is incredibly popular, and there are some great examples out there.
- Monte Real Rioja Fermentado en Barrica is a barrel-fermented white that is quite typical of the regional style. From a blend of Viura and Malvasia, this one is quite complex: It has undergone extensive contact with the lees (known to give Champagne yeast flavours) as well as barrel fermentation and ageing. The winemaking imparts secondary and tertiary flavours and aromas in addition to the primary fruit flavours. It’s a bold white, and makes a good accompaniment to fish stews and other seafood.
- What to try instead: Rioja isn’t the only region making high quality oak-aged whites. Bordeaux, specifically the Pessac-Léognan subregion, is right up there too. White Bordeaux wines can range from entry level to super premium, but you don’t need to pay triple figures for a top example. Château Malartic-Lagravière 2005 is from a great producer and a great vintage, and will appeal to those that love the structure and finesse of the white Monte Real Rioja style.
If you like Monte Real Rioja Reserva, try this!
Rioja Reserva is perhaps the region’s best-loved style of wine. Reserva level wines strike a delicate balance between fruit and oak, appealing to most wine lovers’ palates. These wines must be aged for at least a year in oak barrels, and a further two years in bottle prior to their release. This ageing imparts subtle oak nuance without overpowering the primary fruit flavours.
- Monte Real Rioja Reserva is a great example of the Reserva style. It has generous blackberry and red fruit flavours, a sensual smoothness and a firm tannic backbone from the oak ageing. The wine has a great structure and allows it to pair well with a variety of foods, including roast beef, steak and hard cheese.
- What to try instead: Bordeaux’s Pomerol region is famous for its Merlot-dominated wines. These wines have lots of generous soft fruit flavours, including dark berries, and also have an oaked backbone. Pomerol wines, and Merlot-based Bordeaux generally, tend to be ready to drink sooner than Cabernet-based blends from regions like Pauillac and St Estephe. Lovers of Monte Real Rioja Reserva are thus likely to have a soft spot for a quality Pomerol such as Château Certan de May 2004.
If you like Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva, try this!
The Gran Reserva style is not to everybody’s taste, but it really rewards the patient. Longer oak-ageing times can lead to subdued fruit flavours and heightened emphasis on secondary and tertiary notes, but in the best wines a beautiful and delicate balance is achieved and the wine is smooth and sensual.
- Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva has up to 30 months’ oak ageing and has a harmonious balance between acid and tannin. It is full-bodied with well-integrated oak, and is a prime example of top class Gran Reserva Rioja.
- What to try instead: Margaux, a commune on Bordeaux’s left bank, is known for its sensual, smooth and almost “feminine” wines. Of course, Margaux wines have a strong oak backbone and all the structure associated with Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, a fine balance is achieved and this is not dissimilar to Gran Reserva. Lovers of aged Rioja should thus look at Margaux. While the top name estates will set you back hundreds (if not thousands) of euros, there are many less celebrated châteaux producing great wines. Try Château Rauzan-Ségla 2007, a classified growth that can be bought at a considerable discount to its famous neighbours, Châteaux Palmer and Margaux!
What other wines would you recommend to lovers of Monte Real Rioja wines?