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….
This wine is a bright shade of purple and semi opaque. The nose offers up violets, Juniper bush and plum- very interesting mix. On the palate it has a really nice earthiness reminiscent of Rioja, with dust, bramble and black berries. Even the tannins are rustic. The mid palate turns a little more blue but the charm of the varietal sticks with the basics where I now get a hint of oak. The tannic structure is really nice and does well with the mild acidity. The finish is quite dry but the fruit hangs on for a while. It really is a yummy wine that will pair nicely with our shaved steak-stuffed yellow peppers with onion and Provolone. I don’t think I have had Tempranillo from Oregon before- it won’t be my last one. At 90 points this $17 wine gets 5 stars from me. Drink till 2025. 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….
This blend of Tempranillo and Trincadeira took three days for me to rate. We opened it at the 13th Virtual Wine Tasting and the panel felt it had cardboard box, pepper, black cherry, dark chocolate and earthy notes. It was tannic right off the bat but we coaxed black licorice, dark cherry, sun dried tomato and a hoppy note out of it. I recall writing that this semi opaque wine of medium purple color was quite rich, if not a tad young and rushed. On night 1 it got 12/20 on my rating scale and a technical score of 91 points. I tried it again on night 2 and found it had a muted nose with some red currants and orange peel. The palate was slightly sour with blackberry, licorice and rhubarb. It was still earthy and tannic as heck. Night 3 is when this wine finally opened up for me. Black pepper, jammy blackberry and licorice on the nose gave way to a much smoother palate of iodine, blackberry, bramble and that earthiness. Oak is now evident but restrained making this wine quite complex. It has a smooth finish with well integrated tannins now and is in balance. I’m glad I got to witness a three day evolution of this highly rated $14 wine. It finished out at 92 points from me and gets a massive 5 stars for the QPR it brings. Drink till 2027. I would pair with a hearty steak if opening right now, or decant the heck out of it to soften the tannins. Salut….
This is an interesting blend out of Oz, it’s more Spanish in composition but here goes! Semi opaque and light purple in the glass. The nose is red in nature… currants, raspberry and orange peel. On the palate it’s a racy wine, if not a touch thin. Sour cherry, red currants and judicious oak are all present. The mid palate continues the sour theme and some very fine grained tannins start to coat the gums. The acid component is really making my jaw water. The finish is short in length and pleasant with more red fruit and an intro to some rhubarb. It’s an interesting blend that unfortunately was a little too thin for my liking. Technically I would give it an 86 point score and 2 stars for its $30 retail price. Drink now. Salut….
Last up at the 11th Virtual Tasting was this stunner. It did not appeal to many yet was my wine of the night even though I did not really enjoy drinking it. Let me explain….. This monster is a baby. It has so much complexity, depth and power that is hidden behind a huge tannic wall that it’s hard to coax anything out of it unless you have an aerator, a few days of patience or are willing to take my word for it and cellar some for another 4-5 years. The tasters noted the following:
Inky and nearly black. Clove, grape hubba bubba, graphite, pencil shavings, creosote. Very young with loads of tannins. Cloves, blackberry, iced coffee. Bitter finish. Black currant, jam, tawny port like. Tomato. Short to medium finish.
For me it had layers of anise, tar, black fruit, oak and teeth staining tannins. Great structure will hold this wine together till 2035, but I would cellar until at least 2025, giving a decent 10 year window of enjoyment. Pairing this muscular red with anything but the heartiest of Ribeyes would be foolish, it needs juicy, fatty meat to help cut the tannic grip. On night 2 it was starting to open up and on day 3 I doubled down on the black licorice/anise flavors. The tannins are finally starting to give way. This wine is going to be amazing and for $35 well worth buying a few for the cellar. 95 massive points from me and 5 stars only because I cannot give 6! It’s 100% Tinta de Toro, aka Tempranillo. 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….