CVNE Rioja and a Western Australian Cab from Robert Oatley
Opening these two big red wines, the Cab showed better straight out of the bottle - by the end of the meal, an hour or so later, the Rioja had opened up.
Mrs CWB characterised these wines as snog vs marry - the Oatley impresses straight away and is perfect for an unexpected date (!); the Rioja can wait and is still there getting better when you come back to it.
Interesting analogy, I thought.
So we toasted our date with the Oatley and I steered the conversation onto other topics.
Rioja is a classic wine, defined by its oaking and production method - a legacy of the Phylloxera crisis sending the Bordelais south across the Pyrenees.
Ripe, oaky and fresh, what's not to like?
CVNE Reserva 2012 (£15.40, Majestic, Waitrose, Wine Rack, independents) bramble, cherry and raspberry fruit with complex oaky, peppery vanilla spice and caramel-butterscotch; fresh, supple and long with fine tannins. Good.
Match with plain roast red meat, especially darker game.
I often struggle with New World Cab - blackcurranty and mono-dimensional, they are too often overly simplistic for me; however, I have never struggled with Western Australia's elegant and Old World-style wines.
Robert Oatley Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (£13.60, Co-op, CWM, independents) ripe blackcurranty and dark berry fruit, herbs and spice with freshness and savoury underpinnings; supple, with fine tannins, long and persistent. Good.
Match with venison steak or arrabiata.