Let's start with the conclusion: this is a QPR crazy bottle of wine. What do you do when you're having a couple of dozen people over for a barbecue, but one is your wine-loving boss? Buy this wine. Bright cherry fruit flavors dusted with cocoa powder lead to vanilla from the obvious use of wood. But acids balance tannins, and wood does not overwhelm or collapse into a maple-vanilla mess, but rather complements the fruit. Serve with a crowd and don't worry about disappointing the wine lovers or giving the wine snobs a reason to whine.
This is a soft, juicy, Rioja with berry and vanilla flavors wrapped gently in leather and a touch of tobacco. The finish falls off quickly, but this is a very reasonably priced Rioja Reserva, and at $12 a bottle why not keep some around for pizza or pasta?