I find Spanish wine to be the most consistent. You always know what to expect and you know it will taste great- it’s my go-to in a pinch. This particular bottle is short and squat, unlike any other wine bottle I have seen so I had to try it. The wine is semi opaque and a nice shade of ruby. On the nose it’s a medium intensity with aromas of stewed black plum, graphite, blackberry and that earthy/dusty quality I love in Riojas. The palate is dry and offers up rich blackberry, black plum, dust, charred wood and chocolate. The tannins are grippy and the acidity is quite lithe. I get black tea and earthy bramble on the mid plate and the finish is a dry affair with medium length. Overall its a decent wine that I would cellar for another year or two unless you like them tannic. It should drink well after that till 2028. I’m pairing mine with Honey Bourbon London Broil. 90 points for this $40 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Salut….
If you read my previous post on the Guillaume Pinot Noir, this Rioja is the second bottle we tasted. Like the Pinot, this one has suffered some severe cork damage to the point where I had to drain the wine through a hole in the middle of the cork and filter it into a decanter. Having said that it’s drinking beautifully and is full of tertiary flavors with a little bit of primal fruit left alongside fully melded tannins. Leather, game, steeped plum and cinnamon stick are all present. Typical for Rioja Tempranillo this one has a dusty component to go alongside the flavors of dried fruit and sage. I love Crianza’s from Spain, the oak influence is always well done and delicious. This brand is always consistent with a good reason; decently priced wines that apparently have good cellaring capacity even if stored incorrectly. 90 points for this $12 bottle make it an absolute steal. Salut….
Last up at the virtual wine tasting #18 was this Tempranillo. In the glass it is mostly opaque and a dark claret in color. The nose was a bit of a shocker to us…. figs, dried fruit, mulberry. It was port-like and not very fresh and inviting. On the palate it was gamy with vanilla, dried sage, cedar, bramble, dried fruit and ‘Plummy potpourri’ from one of the group. The wine has slight tannins and low acidity. It was a bit of a disappointment to me and I gave it a scant 13 points on our 20 point scoring sheet. Technically speaking, it got 89 points from me, and at $17 it is worthy of 3 stars. But wait…… I re-tasted it after a while and upped my score to 15+. It grew on me and the funkiness dissipated somewhat, allowing more fruit to come out versus tertiary notes. It is fully mature at this stage and needs to be drunk asap, but I’m not sure of pairings. The flavor profile is very advanced and not what I would want to drink with dinner. An interesting wine for sure compared to the ’04 Beronia I loved. Salut….
Number three in the lineup at the 16th virtual wine tasting was this stunning Spaniard. Dark purple and 75% opaque, it had a complex nose of cigar box, buttered popcorn, black pepper, roasted nuts, blackberry coulis, dill, vanilla and an earthiness. Juicy tannins hit right off the bat with blackberry, oak, vanilla, blueberry and Maduro. Great acidity made for a gorgeous mouthfeel and the wine showed a touch of earthy dust, which I look forward to in Riojas. This was one of the standouts since we started the Virtual Wine Tasting Company. I gave it 20 points and on a technical scale- 94 points. For $30, its worth stashing a few of this 5 star gem away and drink till 2030 with grilled meats. Salut….
I love Tempranillo, especially Rioja. It has an earthiness to it and it matures beautifully. This particular one is a Reserva, which means it has already spent 3 years aging, with at least one of which must be in Oak. This particular bottle is 5 years old and has a rich purple color and is fully opaque. On the nose it has gorgeous blackberry notes, black plum and a blue curaçao hint. It is very complex and enticing. The palate is delicious folks- those fruit flavors I got on the nose are present but I also get a strong push of blueberry licorice. I am surprised by the lack of the usual cedar, tobacco or big time oak notes. The wood integration is very deft and allows the purity of fruit to shine through. The tannins are sublime- a hint dry but not obtrusive, balanced to perfection by some really lithe acidity. This wine has a really nice mid palate with layers of black and blue fruit intermingling. The finish is a touch on the dry side but it will pair beautifully with my Striploin roast, a non-fatty cut that will let the fruit of this wine take center stage. I am very impressed with this bottle and think it will cellar very well. The drinking window is open now and will remain so till 2030 at the least, hopefully with some tertiary flavor development along the way. 94 points from me jibes with the pros on this gem that can be had for $40. Stock up I say on this 5 star wine. Salut….
This Tempranillo blend is 10 years old but still showing youth in the glass- inky purple and opaque. The nose is classic Rioja with leather, bramble, blackberry and singed alder. I love that combo. The palate is showing just a touch of age with tertiary nuances popping up. Black currants, juicy acidity and medium strength tannins all greet me. The leather, alder and dried bramble notes are also present. The mid palate has a vanilla component as well as coffee bean. Black licorice hits me on the back end where the finish is a touch dry and long. Black cherry, blackberry and tertiary flavors are persistent, as is the juicy acidity and tannic grip. This wine was a steal at $12. It is still young and should drink nicely till 2027. I am pairing it with grilled Hanger steak, air fried potatoes and steamed asparagus. 90 points and 5 stars. Salut….
A dull shade of purple belying the age of this Tempranillo blend. It’s about 75% opaque. The nose is a bit subdued- I’m really having to swirl the glass. I finally get steeped plum, bramble and a hint of oak. The palate is a little thin but I get some blueberry and plum notes alongside anise and that dusty note I like in Riojas. The mid palate is quite acidic and juicy, but I also sense a touch of heat. The finish is rather plain with black and blue fruits, really tart acidity and a token dash of tannins. I’m not overly impressed by this $20 wine, might be in a dumb phase. For now it gets 86 points. 2 stars. Salut….
This Tempranillo is inky and opaque in the glass. The nose gives me black berries, iodine, espresso bean and earthy bramble. The palate is textbook Rioja- dusty, earthy, black fruit driven, smoky and delicious. The tannins of this 9 year old wine are well integrated but the acidity is what I’m really enjoying. Jaw dripping and long. The mid palate continues the black fruit theme and I pick up some oaky notes. The finish is quite dry from the remnants of tannins that are holding this wine together and will allow it to cellar for another 5 years. Yummy stuff that I am pairing with Middle Eastern Goat stew. 90 points from me and at $15 per bottle it gets 5 stars. Salut….
Semi opaque in the glass with a nice shade of purple. The nose is smoky with black berries, plum and chocolate powder. There’s also a touch of funky Rioja dirt in there. The palate is as hoped- rich, complex and satisfying. Black fruit, tar, licorice and ripe tannins all caress the mouth. The mid palate just builds more on the flavor profile. The finish is delightful- semi dry from the well integrated tannins, juicy from a touch of acidity and brimming with flavors of ripe blackberry, espresso, cacao and that telltale dusty Rioja component. This Tempranillo is drinking beautifully now and will go till 2028. 92 points and 5 stars for this steal at $10. Salut….
I don’t recall ever having a pure Graciano, it’s normally used as a blending grape. In the glass it is a pale shade of purple and is fully opaque. On the nose I get charred plums, black berries and a stewed fruit note. The palate is interesting with brooding dark fruits, oak and a vanilla bean note. The tannic structure is very well ingrained in this 9 year old bottle. They are present but not foreboding. The black fruits show up on the mid palate with a touch of bitterness, there is a green note too. On the finish is where I get some nice acidity to go with the oaky fruit compote. There is a nice dryness on the back end from the tannins. The wine is a pleasure to drink but that midpalate greeness has me concerned. This will drink well till 2025 and pair nicely with pasta, roasted chicken and certainly grilled steak. I’m going 89 points and 3 stars for the $12 price point. Salut….