Viña Real’s very own Cork v Screwcap comparison – only one winner

2013 Viña Real, Crianza, Rioja, Spain (approx. £11.65, Fortnum & Mason tel. 020 7734 8040, D Byrne & Co. tel. 01200 423152, Cheers Wine Merchants tel. 01792 403895, Hailsham Cellars tel. 01323 846238, Hot Corks tel. 01622 884453).   While I have enjoyed a thoroughly respectful relationship with Viña Real for three decades I was rather shocked after tasting this wine and the one below this week.  This Crianza is a fabulous, bright, cherry-soaked red with so much energy and life on board it is incredible.  This wine is sealed with a screwcap, which is clearly a genius move because it has allowed the fruit to retain all of its verve and attack.  Well done Viña Real.  17/20 (Drink now – 2020)

2013 Viña Real, Reserva, Rioja, Spain (approx. £19.05, Tanners Wines tel. 01743 234455, D Byrne & Co. tel. 01200 423152, Ann et Vin tel. 01636 700900).  This is the same estate, the same vintage and the only differences are the Reserva classification and the price.  For seven more pounds than the brilliant Crianza you can experience some noticeable oak which is not as lush nor as aromatic as it should be.  In addition, there is a cork sealing this wine and the result is a nose, palate and finish which has been rendered irreparably damp, dull and dreary.   This is not just a boring, blunt wine, but it is clearly a shocker by comparison to its screwcap-sealed stablemate.  It is another example of a company just not having the balls to go the extra yard.  14?/20