Best buys | Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

Best buys

Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented

The old fashioned red and gold label and the fact it’s not a rioja wouldn’t do much for me either.

It also comes from Laithwaite’s, a retailer which has never overly impressed me with its range or pricing

But I’d be wrong. This is a cracking bottle of wine made from garnacha (aka grenache) from the far less fashionable Cariñena region. Despite its age it’s still gorgeously plummy and at £8.99 an absolute steal for a gran reserva which has to be aged for at least 5 years. It’s the perfect wine for a traditional Sunday roast beef (or lamb) lunch and would make any rioja-lovers in the family very happy.

The only thing I’d say is that the advice on the label ‘drink by December 2017’ might be a tad over-optimistic given most domestic storage conditions - I’d be inclined to drink it by Christmas - or the new year, at the latest. Also I’m not sure you need to decant it as they advise. It was pretty good poured straight from the bottle.

Laithwaite’s by the way has just been nominated Merchant of the Year and Online Retailer of the Year by the International Wine Challenge so maybe I’m wrong on that front too. But if you do buy some of the El Bombero beware pushy follow up invitations to buy ‘half price’ mixed cases. And I tried another couple of wines in their range by which I was much less impressed.

PS The other wine I was thinking of making my wine of the week - and might have done if I hadn’t featured them last week is the Charles de Fère Brut Premium Vin Mousseux which is currently on offer at M & S at just £7. It’s a really attractive soft sparkling wine which looks very much like champagne at a casual glance. Perfect for weddings it struck me, if you want an alternative to prosecco.

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