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Unbeatable Value Everyday Red

Just £7.50 a bottle

Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2015

While we'd all like to be swimming in Petrus every day of the blessed week, financial realities dictate that for most of us this is not possible. Especially in that bleak penurious stretch which follows the largesse of Chrimbo, commonly known as 'January'. January - the word alone makes one shudder with a curious mix of dread and disgust. The Hungarian author Antal Szerb once wrote that November in London isn't a month, it's a state of mind. Well, if you ask me, that could apply to most of northern Europe in January, a time when little light shines and no life stirs beyond the occasional noisome virtue-signalling of a Dry January-er. At this time more than any other, we could all do with a little something to lift us, a wee morale-booster to help us on our passage through this valley of darkness - which is why we have waited until now to release a little ray of sunshine in the form of a soft and bramble-fruity Garnacha from the high-altitude vineyards of Cruz de Piedra in Calatayud, south-east of Rioja. 

This Cruz de Piedra Garnacha is one of those rare birds that's both superbly priced (Jancis Robinson MW described a previous vintage as being 'a steal') and really hits the spot. It's a lovely wine - such moreishly soft, ripe old-vine (60-100 years old!) Garnacha fruit - if you're looking for a delicious no-frills red, Cruz de Piedra from Calatayud is your man.

Bright, ripe brambly fruit with soft notes of sweetly spiced cherry and liquorice. Very much quaffable on its own but there's a bit of structure to it as well, meaning its pleasures will be amplified with food. This is going to marry well with anything from a juicy medium-rare ribeye to a robust central-heating-for-the-soul winter stew. I opted to drink it with stewed beef cheek and buttery garlic mashed potato, and felt like the cat's miaow in consequence. 

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