IF, like me, you’ve had a stressful week, why not do what I do and open a liquid comfort blanket called Rioja? It's an age-old wine from Spain that was one of the winners when the wine world was devastated by phylloxera in the 19th century. Bordeaux winemakers sought new vineyards to work in when their own had to be uprooted, and many of them stumbled on Rioja.

Rioja already had great grapes, notably tempranillo and grenache, but the Bordeaux winemakers had the knowledge to unlock a legend and it turned out to be as simple as oak barrels. Tempranillo took to oak like a duck to water and it just seemed to absorb the vanilla from the barrels like a sponge.

Sadly, however, the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War caused most of the vineyards to be ripped up and re-planted with wheat to feed the country and it wasn't until the 1960s that the Rioja wine industry started to recover. Anyway, recover it did, and while many of the modern styles of Rioja are aiming for less oak or no oak at all to appeal to a younger audience (personally, I think it's to speed up production), my preference is still towards the ones that have slumbered in barrels for several years.

You see with Rioja, it's all down to the smoothness of the palate and that comes with time in wood. The more the merrier for my vanilla addicted palate.

Baron de Ley Gran Reserva Rioja

Oh my, this is a Rioja-lovers dream with two years in oak and a further three in bottle before release. Autumn fruits on the nose with a soft, toffee fudge palate and hints of granny's leather sofa on the finish. Gorgeous.

Waitrose £15.99

Lat 42 Rioja Reserva

Lovely aromas of warm berries leading into soft autumn fruits and a creamy oak palate.

Oddbins £14.50