2006 Bodegas Las Orcas "Solar de Randez" Crianza Rioja (Previously $15)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
($13; 100% tempranillo) Ruby-red. Fresh red berries and cherry on the nose, with suave Asian spice and vanilla notes adding complexity. Silky in texture, offering sweet red fruit flavors and a tangy suggestion of white pepper. Gains depth and power with air and finishes on a bitter cherry skin note. This is pretty tasty now but possesses the depth to reward patience.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Solar de Randez Crianza is 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano aged for 14 months in seasoned French and American oak. Purple-colored, it offers up an enticing nose of cedar, tobacco, spice box, leather, and black fruits. Supple, ripe, and elegant on the palate, the wine has good depth, intense flavors, and a lengthy, pure finish. It is an excellent value for drinking through 2018.
This juicy red brims with berry and black cherry flavors, accented with licorice and vanilla. It has light, firm tannins and juicy acidity, with a sweet, floral finish.
Bodegas Las Orcas is a family winery with a bodega just outside the town wall of Laguardia, and vineyards located nearby in the Rioja Alavesa. In the heavily clay/calcareous soil, Tempranillo thrives, and it forms the basis of this wine. There is also 5% Garnacha and/or Graciano blended in (depending on the vintage and which grapes are the most desirable specific to the growing season). While the wine is showing quite well now, with tasty mixed berry and red fruits, a sturdy texture and hints of Mediterranean herbs, this is one of those crianzas with a capacity to improve in bottle, so feel free to stash some extra bottles away to drink over the next 4-5 years.