Probably the first bottle of Rioja I ever drank was MdC; a Crianza of course. I would hazard a guess, based on the volume and availability, many North Americans and not too few British would echo the sentiment. Marques de Caceres is an omnipresent red which usually comes on strong and tannic and decent in a bistro but nothing of note. I’ve always thought of MdC as the Casio watch brand of wine labels.
The Reserva is less available, at least in Western Canada; the BCL has the Gran Reserva. We’re not going to shell out another $40 to compare, but I’m going to suggest that if you love the oak of Rioja get the GR but if you just have a hankering for fine Tempranillo go the Reserva route, with less time on the cask but still a fine selection off the vine and some love and care in the aging.
At seven years this vintage is a blast of candy store licorice, followed by a heady, alcoholic, tannic bomb of cherry, plum, charcoal, moist earth then followed on the finish with traces of oak and vanilla. Although top heavy it’s ludicrously food friendly (which we drank with a New York Times beef stew braised in Dijon, cognac, wine and beef stock). Assertive, not terribly acidic, very masculine.
Price: $40 at Kits Wine Cellar (but with a half case purchase, reduced by 10%; no such luck at BCL).
Market Liquidity: Like running with the bulls in Pamplona, this wine cannot be held back.