£13.75/£12.38, The Daily Drinker
I'm delighted to find a wine made from Prieto Picudo. It's a fairly obscure red grape variety, even in its homeland of Castilla y Léon in north west Spain, but I happen to have been talking about it last month at a presentation I was giving on matching wine and food at the Duero International Wine Fest, a big new wine conference in Burgos (a wonderful city for a weekend break, incidentally). Prieto Picudo is way behind Tempranillo and even Mencía in plantings in Castilla y Léon, but it's an interestngly versatile wine with food – dark, aromatic and low in tannin, with acidity giving freshness and structure. Belote's Calandria (the calandra lark illustrated on the label) is deep black-purple with ripe damson and clove on the nose and a seductively smooth, fresh palate of dark plum, black cherry, black olive and liquorice carrying its 14.5% alcohol deftly. It goes well with a lot of meat and vegetable dishes, including squashes and peppers, and is more forgiving with cheese than many dry reds (because of its low tannin and lively freshness). It's also a good match for chorizo, other spicy sausages and smoked sausages and, although ready now, it won't come to any harm if cellared for a couple of years.
Bodegas Belote Calandria Prieto Picudo 2016, Tierra de León, Castilla y Léon, Spain
£13.75, or £12.38 for DD club members, The Daily Drinker