Settled down to a bottle of Miguel Angel Muro's 2004 "Amenital", a new-wave Rioja with a lot of sparkle about it. This is a big red wine with a lot of style. Very young, it really needs another four or five years to get properly started although it went down extremely well tonight. It has the depth of a lot of gran reservas but, whereas they are too often over-oaked for my palate, Miguel Angel has got the balance right for me: I do like a bit of oak character in Rioja (although his unoaked "Joven" makes for an excellent lunchtime red) but I the fruit must take control.
A few days ago we tried Miguel Angel's Rioja 2002 "Seleccionada". I know on paper 2002 is not supposed to be as good as 2001 but the 2002 has bigger, riper fruit and more judicious use of oak, the two key flavour elements of Rioja. Clearly there is American oak here but also some French adding a certain dignity to this wine. This wine takes me back to my childhood: eating vanilla ice-creams whilst picking hedgerow fruits (OK so this combination probably never actually happened but you get the idea).