Wine Review: 2012 Crianza Rioja, LAN


Despite disagreeing with Kricket about California wine being inherently flawed, she has still been successful in peaking my interest in what she refers to as “Old World Wines”.

Xavier and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Cacique.  

Cacique is special to us for a number of reasons. We went to dinner there during my first trip out here to visit. We’ve taken my cousin and his wife there when they were passing through town and we’ve also treated my mom to a dinner at Cacique when she came out to see us. Most notably, we dined at Cacique after our wedding.

So anyway, we had dinner at Cacique, again.

I used to always order a Margarita but this time I asked for the wine list.


I chose the Enate Tempranillo and it was fer-damn-delicious.

There was a depth and a spiciness to the flavor (enhanced by the incredible salsa at Cacique) that I have yet to come across in my wine adventures.

Xavier said something luke warm like, “Meh, it’s ok.” but I was hooked and wanted more. On the way home I requested a field trip to the Frederick Wine House in search of my very own bottle of Enate Tempranillo.

On a side note, the next day my online bank statement read, “FREDERICK WINE HO”, which I thought was funny.

C’mon, it’s a little funny.

As it turns out, they did not have what I was looking for so I picked another Spanish wine made from Tempranillo grapes, 2012 Crianza Rioja from LAN.


The following night we had it with dinner.


Naturally, it was a little bit different than the Enate Tempranillo, but the LAN Rioja still had the depth and the spice coupled with a silky smoothness that makes it very drinkable.

I truly enjoyed this wine, with no adverse side effects, but Xavier started getting a headache almost immediately. Well, you know what that means…  More for me!

I’ve heard a rumor that Tempranillo grapes will grow in New Mexico. In fact, there is a winery in Albuquerque growing them right now and I am already making plans for my future garden.

If Maynard from Tool can grow anything at all on the side of a hill in Arizona, I can surely grow some Tempranillo grapes in New Mexico, right?