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javier san pedro randezThere are terrific bargains to  be found buying Spanish wine (see reviews of Faustino and Cune for two examples). But cheap isn’t necessarily a bargain. The old adage if it looks too good to be true it probably is. I spotted this Crianza at Trader Joe’s for $7. There is a reason. Bright cranberry on the nose but very prominent vegetal notes are an issue, and little overt oak making it a bit unusual for a Rioja. The palate is leathery with more tart cranberry and surprisingly tough tannins. There is plenty of structure but this is a stiff, unyielding wine with insufficient fruit to balance the tannin and acidity. If you like austere wines this is as unrefined as you can get. Score: 80 Price: $7 Alc: 13.5 This wine takes me back to early Trent Reznor and NIne Inch Nails–tough, unforgiving, destitute. It reminds you there are states of mind compared to which this wine is like Chateau Margaux:

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