Since hosting a special event with rare old-vintage riojas this year, it's clear the West Deptford franchise of the Joe Canal's discount liquor chain has become a go-to stop for Spanish wine fans. The store is now selling an impressive pair of younger, more accessible reds that show just how appealing the modern rioja style can be. The 2008 Cerro Añon Reserva from Bodegas Olerras is one of the best-quality values I've tasted at $16, with a deep core of ruby Tempranillo fruit edged by mouthwatering acidity and a dusky, dry, earthy mocha finish that is distinctively Spanish. The 2010 Unica Reserva from Sierra Cantabria is slightly more expensive, but I can taste the $10 difference in the deeper resonance of fruit, more polished edges, and a broader, more expressive finish that also brings aromatic notes of cedar and spice. Easily, these were two of my summer favorites to date.
- Craig LaBan
Bodegas Olarra Cerro Añon Reserva 2008, $15.99; Sierra Cantabria Unica Reserva 2010, $24.99, Joe Canal's West Deptford (1075 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, 856-464-8787.)