Castillo 2006 Rioja Crianza - ~$8

Fresh & Easy seems to have replaced their Reflexión Rioja Riserva, which I really liked, with this Crianza version of the Tempranillo grape. Crianzas are aged quite a bit less in bottle before being released, and this difference is borne out in the contrast between the Castillo's brasher, more fruit-driven style and the mature elegance of its elder sibling.

Violets, spicy red fruit, and damp earth are the dominant aromas and the wine follows through with flavors of peppery sour cherry and some tart raspberry on the end. The emphasis here is all about the fruit and the acidity, though the wine softens (perhaps a touch too much) after a good deal of air. It's a pleasant enough bottle, but somewhat one-dimensional.

It is a more energetic wine than the Reflexión, certainly, but in this case I have to give the nod to age over youth.


Drinkability: 7/10
Price: 4/5
Total value: 11/15

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