2006 Lopez de Heredia Viña Cubillo, $26.00

One of the most traditional and respected wineries in Rioja, in fact in all of Spain, Lopez de Heredia guards its traditions and its 137 year history as proudly and steadfastly as any winery in the world. The Vina Cubillo is their "entry level" red, though it is no ordinary entry level wine. It is composed, like all of their reds, of Tempraniilo, Garnacho, Mazuelo and Graciano. The wine is a beautiful translucent dark red color, presaging the deep, round, black cherry-inflected fruit on the palate. There is a purity, balance and sophistication that I find rare at any level in Rioja. Although it is in its 8th year, it will continue to improve for several more, and you would not be disappointed if you forgot about it in a remote corner of your cellar for a decade. (I've had their reservas at 30 and 40 years old and have been thrilled at the experience). Though not a reserve or grand reserve, the Vina Cubillo is a wine that boxes well above its weight.