Last night I took my boyfriend to STK in the Meatpacking District to celebrate his birthday with a melt in your mouth steak and some fabulous red wine. Being that his all time favorite wine is rioja, I was very pleased to see a selection on the wine list that wouldn’t break the bank. The question was would it be good and would it stand up to his current favorite Marques de Riscal? The chosen wine was La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva 2003 from Rioja, Spain. It is composed of 10o% tempranillo grapes which are native to Northern Spain. It was a dark, vibrant red in the glass and had a delicious, earthy aroma with hints of red fruits and spices. From the aroma in the glass I knew we had made the right choice. There was a strong cherry taste that was slightly sour in the first pour but that wasn’t a detractor in the flavor. For us it just gave it more of a complexity and a different flavor profile than what we normally drink. There were undertones of vanilla, spice, and a hint of woodsmoke present as well. As the wine opened up the sourness lessened and the wine became more smooth and balanced on the palate. This rioja had a nice acidity to it as well as slight tannins which made for a great presence in the mouth and gave way to a lingering and tasty finish. It was a perfect accompaniment to our filet mignon with parmesan truffle fries and made the entire meal all the more special. This medium bodied red is 13% alcohol and the average retail in stores is $20. This wine has been rated 90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.