2001 Bodegas Las Orcas "Solar de Randez" Reserva Rioja (Previously $25)
Spice, cedar and tobacco notes mark this gracefully maturing red, but there's a core of cherry fruit that remains fresh and bright. The tannins are softening, but the wine has enough structure for food. Bright and balanced. Drink now through 2010.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(100% tempranillo) Amber-edged red. Cedary redcurrant and cherry aromas are complicated by tobacco and musky herbs; smells like a maturing Bordeaux. Sappy red berry and bitter cherry flavors are light in weight but pack impressive punch, with dusty tannins adding grip. Vanilla creep up on the finish, lending sweetness and lingering seductively behind. Fans of old-school Rioja ought to check this one out.