Wine review: Matsu El Recio

16 07 2017


First time I saw this kind of a “hilarious” series of Spanish red wines, was couple of years ago at some wine fair in Helsinki. Already then I took the cards of the wines to study them more closely later.

Several times have ordered basic Matsu El Picaro in restaurants and it has always been enoyable. Medium-bodied, almost full bodied and pairs nicely with meny dishes. Therefore expectations for Matsu El Recio were maybe to high.

Matsu wines come from an area called Toro with very favourable conditions for obtaining a good quality grape. The climate in this area is a continental climate with an Atlantic influence. It is an area that experiences extreme temperature changes, reaching 11 degrees below zero in winter and 37 degrees in summer. There is also a considerable temperature contrast between night and day, which favours an optimum maturation of the grape. In addition, the annual rainfall is very low, so the risk of diseases appearing is also very low and therefore grapes grow in a perfectly healthy state.

Vineyards produce the Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) variety; between 80 and 100 years of age and have a very low yield per vine.


What was attracted my interest, was the label. Or actually series of labels. In this wine there is a middle aged man.

Color of the wine is quite deep red but not as brownish as I expected-


Ripe plum, cranberry and sour cherry. Quite mild, actually difficult to find anything, but somhow acidity came through.


Regarding to notes, wine should be full-bodied, but this one was not. Would say it medium-bodied. And acidity and tannins dominated also in taste as well noticed in bouquet. Also spiciness was obvious. Not my favourite.



Must say that this Matsu El Recio was dissappointment. I tried to find some wine error, acidity maybe was, but could not actually identify. Cork was ok also. Maybe it is just so, that this wine is too light and blend for my taste.

However, suggest to try El Picaro which is also affordable. I am now wondering if I shall try El Viejo at all. Any experience?


Alcohol: 14,5% by volume
Acidity: 4,4 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml
Closure: Natural cork



Wine review: Vina Real Oro Reserva 2009

25 06 2015
Vina Real Oro -

The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) is a family winery which was founded in 1879. The Viña Real winery of CVNE is located on the “Cerro de la Mesa” hill, Rioja Alavesa.

The Viña Real wines were first launched in 1920, made from grapes from the Rioja Alavesa area. Since then, these wines have typically been named as ‘Plata’ (Crianza), ‘Oro’ (Reserva), and Gran Reserva.

Tasted wine was Vina Real Oro Reserva 2009, which costs in Alko 23,20€ making it obviously upper shelf wine. Wine is produced from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, Grenache and Mazuel grapes. The wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and matured for 22 months in new oak barriques with racking every 4 months



The bottle is Burgundy type which is not so typical for Spanis wines.

Color of wine is dark red with hints of brown color due to age.


Full of typical Rioja intense aromas, pleasant and balance bouquet.


Medium-bodied, velvety. Oak barrels have provided some depth to the flavor.



Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 31 g/l
Acidity: 5,5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle


Fillet abd Vina Real -


Tasted Vina Real Oro first as such, which was really pleasant tasting. And with giant Riedel glass enjoyment is even better.

With Fillet beef and Caesar salad flavor even improved. Red wine I could enjoy the whole winter, if it would be winter now. Therefore can recommend also in the summer!


Bodega – Viña Real – Vino.


Wine review: Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

14 05 2015
Baron De Ley is a relatively new producer in Rioja. Started in 1985 by Rioja wine professional eager to create a chateau inspired winery with state-of the-art winemaking. They converted an ancient monastery into a magnificent estate and have been producing Rioja wines that reflect a modern style, expressive of the terroir and the Tempranillo grape. 
Baron de Ley -
Tasted wine was Baron de Ley Reserva 2010. Red wine is produced 100% of Tempranillo grapes. After 20 months ageing in new American-oak casks, a further 24 months rounding off in the bottle has brought it to its moment of plenitude.


Ruby-red colour, typical better Spanish red wine


Powerful fruity character mingling with reminders of its ageing, nice bouquet


First impression is soft, but volume gradually extends across the palate to end with a long finish. Included tannins but disturbingly


Alcohol: 13,5%
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (360 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle


Baron de Ley Reserva 2010 -

Enjoyed wine first as such and then with 1st of May food. Paired extremely well with chicken and spiced lamb sausages. Suits definately with red meats as there is enough taste.


Barón de Ley. A Rioja wine cellar in an old monastery.


Wine review: Faustino I

18 04 2015
Faustino I -

Faustino I

Bodegas Faustino is located in Oyon – Álava in Rioja, Spain. It enjoys a well-deserved international reputation after more than 150 years of experience in the production and aging of premium wines. The winery has 650 hectares of vineyards in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, between Laguardia and Oyón villages (in the North of Spain). The fourth generation family business, has become a leader in the production and exportation of high quality wines.

The names of Bodegas Faustino wines are simple, just Faustino and something and usually something is number. The smaller the number, the better the wine should be. Winery produces red, white, rose and cava wines.

Tasted wine was Faustino I Gran Reserva 2001, which costs in Alko 24,90€ making it obviously upper shelf wine. Wine is produced from Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes. I means that it should be the best of this Faustino red wine series.

Faustino I -


All Faustino bottle lables have same style and all Faustino red wine bottle labels have some traditional figure on them.

Faustino I 2001 was dark red but although it had some age already, no brownish color.


Pleasant and rich aroma without surprises.


Medium-bodied, aromatic but somehow lackluster flavor. Expected a little bit more after reading some of the tasting notes from professional wine sites.


Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 26 g/l
Acidity: 6,1 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (380 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle


Tasted Faustino I first as such and that gave an impression of little bit lackluster flavor. To be honest this wine has not enough boost for red meats. But with blue cheese it paired extremely well.

Therefore recommend to enjoy Faustino I, at least 2001, with white meats, game birds and cheeses. Cheers!


Bodegas Faustino Rioja wine.

Red wine glasses – does the size matter? (Part I)

16 11 2013

Wine glasses -

There is lots of fuss about the importance of glass on the taste of wines. Some thoughts around the topic in two posts.

Compared two totally different red wines, Faustino VII 2011 and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine du Vieux Lazaret 2010. Part I covers tasting of most modest Faustino, Faustino VII, which should be full-bodied Spanish tempranill0 with medium tannins and delicately spicy regarding to Alko notes.

Red wines -

Tested both wines in four different red wine glasses:

Glass 1: Sommeliers Bordeaux GC (Riedel, Austria)

Huge 27 cm high glass with capacity of 0,86 litre. Could take the whole bottle! Glass maker Riedel recommends it to be used with following wines/grapes: Bordeaux (red), Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chablis, Fronsac, Graves rouge, Listrac, Margaux, Médoc, Merlot, Moulis, Pauillac, Pessac Leognan (Rouge), Pomerol, St. Emilion, St. Estèphe, St. Julien

TASTING NOTES: Glass is too big for tasting because spinning the glass is quite clumsy. Huge size makes you too careful which does not help in the tasting. Mixed opinions compared to Vinum glass; actually it was a difficult task to rank these glasses with similar shapes. With affordable Faustino VII, glass did not provide any extra amazing experience; so we have to wait for how better French wine manages.

Glass 2: Vinum Bordeaux (Riedel, Austria)

Typical 22,5 cm high red wine glass with capacity of 0,61 litre. Recommended by Riedel to use with following wines/grapes: Bordeaux (red), Carmenère, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zweigelt

TASTING NOTES: Maybe easiest shape and size to taste Faustino VII. THE NOSE and THE TASTE were in balance. Vinum Bordeaux glass was the WINNER OF THE TEST! 

Glass 3: Essence (Iittala, Finland)

23 cm high with capacity of 0,45 litre and designed by Alfredo Häberli for Iittala in 2001. No recommendations for wines or grapes. In Finnish Iittala web -site also classified as beer glass.

TASTING NOTES: With Faustino VII Essence glass did not impress. It managed worst in THE NOSE and THE TASTE tests. Alcohol covered bouquet of tempranillo and flavor of the wine was bitter. LOSER OF THE TEST!

Glass 4: Basic tasting glass

These glasses are usually used in basic wine tastings. This glass was brought on from Barcelona Estacio Enologica 100-year celebration but glass type has also been used in Finnish Wine Fairs several years ago.

TASTING NOTES: Bouquet of tempranillo was most pleasant and easily identified, but taste of wine was as bitter as it was with Iittala Essence glass. Too much tannins and spices.

Glasses - reijosfood.comWine glasses -


Size does not matter but the shape really matters. It is important to choose right glass for different type of red wines. Maybe Spanish tempranillo is not the best wine for Riedel glasses, because it was not recommended by glass maker. One option might be that Riedel ignores certain countries/regions/grapes. However, tasted wine was quite modest and immature. None of the glasses did not improve taste significantly.

In Part II we analyze Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine du Vieux Lazaret 2010 which was tasted by using the same glasses.

Wine review: Museum

5 04 2013

Again Spanish red wine?! Sorry, but somehow like them a lot…but this wine was a little bit dissappointing.

The Cigales wine region is situated in the province of Valladolid and Palencia and covers an area of 2,600 hectares. The Cigales wine region consists of 37 vineyards (Bodegas), which produce 5 millon liter of wine annually. Finca Museum is one of the biggest bodegas in the region and part of Grupo Baron De Ley.

Tasted red wine Museum from Finca Museum which is 100% TINTA DEL PAÍS grape. Tempranillo, more known spanish red wine grape, is known under a number of local synonyms in different regions of Spain, Cencibel and Tinto Fino are used in several regions, and it is also known as Tinta del País.



Label is printed with golden letters, makes wine look precious. At the bottom of the bottle there is also picture of one sculpture wineyard has in their collection

Vintage Crianza 2008 was dark red with a hint of brown color



Bouquet was rich, but difficult to recognize tempranillo due to tannins. Some black berries and hint of fennel. Aroma was quite strong.


Museum was aged at least 6 months (Crianza) in French and American oak barrels. Would say full-bodied and spicy but strong due to tannins. Took some time get familiar with taste.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 29 g/l
Acidity: 5,1 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (380 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Museum wine is suitable for red meats. Because of the tannins, it is not aperitif. Not the best Spanish tempranillo (Tinta del Pais) I have tasted. Better invest for reservas or gran reservas, tannins might be milder. Anyway, with over cooked lamb shank the wine was ok.



Wine review: Pago del Vicario 50/50

10 02 2013

Pago del Vicario 50/50 is Spanish wine. It comes from one of the La Mancha bodegas, Pago del Vicario, which is located at a distance of nine kilometres from Ciudad Real. Bodega sells its wines under the appellation of Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. There are also a hotel and restaurant carrying same name.

Grapes and share of them used are, as you might guess from the name, TEMPRANILLO (50 %), CABERNET SAUVIGNON (50 %).
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied but soft red wines in its native Spain. Cabernet Savignon brings the body to this wine.


Pago del Vicario

Vintage 2008 is deep red with brown tinge. Maybe wine had already got some depth. When wine flows along the surface of glass after spinnng it, wine does it slowly bringing out vintage and wine posture.


Strong aroma partly because fo tannins. Almost can scent alcohol which is unusual observation.


Fills mouth with quite strong taste. Tannins can be found clearly but not disruptively. Some bramble; taste is balanced.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 14,5% by volume
Extract: 31 g/l
Acidity: 5,9 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (390 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Pago del Vicario IIPaco del Vicario III

The design of the bottle is cool. Black glass bottle and black label make a solemn effect. On the other hand shape of the bottle which thickens toward the neck of the bottle gives the impression of luxury wine. Wine tasting is ensemble of different phases and observations; this wine gives opportunity to use all senses, even artistic ones.

As taste is quite strong and wine includes tannis recommend to enjoy Pago del Vicario 50/50 with red meats and spiced foods. Actually suited really well with the pasta we prepared same day, picture and preparing instructions on the page “Dining at home”.


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