Since Christmas is coming soon it is time for me to decide what wines my family and I should order for the December period. I absolutely adore Spanish red wines. On the whole I think Spanish reds are by far the best and so last night I decided to compare a couple to decide which would make it into our Christmas order.

As Rioja is my favourite so far in life I thought I would compare a gold medal standard Barón de Barbón with a Posada del Rey.

The Posada del Rey is actually a declassified Rioja since it is from the same region but as we know only a set amount gets to be deemed Rioja. The Posada del Rey is declassified and unoaked. I believed the Posada del Rey would still be a great contender as it is described as the ‘ultimate house red’ which I take to mean it is very easy drinking.

Wine makers background

Both of these reds are from the Bodega Muriel winery and from the Murúa family. Their wine seems to me to be consistently of a very high standard. The winery was founded in 1926 but the estate changed hands when none of the founder’s children wanted to run the winery, however it returned to the family in 1982.

Vintage and Grape

The Barón de Barbón is the 2010 vintage which is meant to be gold medal standard and it is made purely from hand harvested Tempranillo grapes. I believe the Posada del Rey also uses these grapes.

Review

The Posada del Rey is a cherry red colour and the Barón de Barbón is described as a deep cherry red. For those with the unsophisticated eye such as myself looking for a reference of what this means I would say the later as having a more distinctive and slightly pinker tone than the flatter coloured Posada del Rey.

The Posada del Rey certainly was very easy drinking. I found it a fantastic flavour because it was the kind of red you could drink with anything: red meat, chicken, tapas or even a lunch time snack. It was not too heavy at all.

The Barón de Barbón was a much more complicated wine with several different notes. It is certainly a wine you should drink slowly to get the full details of the flavour. It was spicer, richer and perhaps slightly sweeter. It is a perfect accompaniment to very rich food such as lamb or a passata based sauce dish.

Both are excellent, very enjoyable wines.

Marks out of 5

Although the Barón de Barbón is technically superior I find myself, for my own personal opinion, giving it a 3/5 whereas I am inclined to give the Posada del Rey a 4/5. This might not be an opinion shared by many as the Barón de Barbón is a much more complex taste but it is accurately described as having the aroma of blackberry and hints of vanilla. Most might find this subtle and elegant tapestry of notes to make it the clear winner for the Christmas wine order but I personally have a very savoury palate and I interpret these flavours as being slightly sweeter. I find the Posada del Rey more peppery which is my preference. Although the Posada del Rey is less smooth and deep is it very fun to drink and I believe will go well with canapés or main meal. Naturally my recommendation is to order a number of both.