Telmo Rodríguez LZ 2009, Rioja, Spain $22.99
Most Riojas are a blend of several grapes, but the most important is the black-skinned tempranillo. A superb follow-up to 2008 LZ, this spicy and fruity blend of mostly tempranillo with a little graciano and garnacha (grenache) is built to last. It's magic with lamb and beef; herbal sauces, marinades and traditional vegetarian dishes, but isn't compatible with bitter vegetables, salads or blue cheeses. Meet Telmo Rodríguez, Spain's most innovative producer in the Playhouse Wine Festival tasting room tonight - tickets are $95 at the door. Available at private wine shops.
Kasey Wilson is food editor of Wine Access magazine and editor of Best Places Vancouver.