I don’t need to expand on the meal, the only question is what to drink. With roast beef there is a very wide choice. Our usual preference is claret, but today we had Rioja.
This was The Wine Society’s Rioja Crianza 2006 which is 13% alcohol and will currently set you back £6.95 a bottle. That’s a good price for a well chosen Rioja, especially if you want a food-friendly one that doesn’t overwhelm your tastebuds with the vanilla flavour of new oak. I wrote about it and the meaning of ‘Crianza’ just two weeks ago so won’t repeat it here. What is different is that we are drinking it with beef rather than lamb and it works very well – no surprise. The horseradish is the only element that is more testing than the accompaniments to roast lamb, and the Rioja passes that test.
For the record, red Rioja (there is also white and rosé) is not made exclusively with Tempranillo grapes; often Tempranillo will be only 60% of the blend with Garnacha (aka Grénache) making up almost all of the rest. There may be small proportions of Graciano and Mazuelo. However it is Tempranillo that contributes most of the taste and aging potential.