This was the last bottle of our 19th Virtual Wine Tasting. Intense purple in the glass- this wine had a rustic nose with earth, barnyard, dill, dried herbs, blackberry, cedar and dark fruit jam. On the palate the group got toasted marshmallow, jam, Angostura Bitters (?), blackberry, black cherry, cedar and dusty earth. My initial reaction was that this wine was yummy and very smooth. It is very balanced and the tannins are so fine grained it gives a beautiful mouthfeel. Richness and complexity galore make this an excellent wine that gets 94 points from me. At $60 it’s a pricy one for sure, but worth every drop. 5 stars. Drink till 2030 with grilled lamb, shish kebabs or pasta. Stunning Tempranillo and one of the best we have had in our tasting group IMHO. Salut….
I have had this wine before and raved about it. Now, three years later, it has evolved- still amazing, yet different. I love it when the label tells you exactly what’s going on here, 80% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak for 24 months. This wine runs a hefty 14.5% alcohol by volume. It is pale ruby in the glass but I was expecting a little more opaqueness. The nose is gorgeous. Luscious oak, blackberry, black currant, cinnamon, tobacco, cedar and a whiff of heat. The legs are literally falling down the sides of the glass. The palate is stunning- rich fruit enveloped in copious yet refined oak, aged beautifully with tertiary notes starting to come through whilst the primary fruit and secondary notes are still very much in force. The spiciness of this wine replaces the usual dusty component that I get from Spanish Reservas. I’m not upset as I love this flavor profile. At 11 years of age it is still young and promises to last another 10 to 15 years. It will develop nicely and gain more tertiary notes with time. Punctuated acidity is going to hold the wine really well as are the very well integrated tannins. I’m loving it. 93 points at the very least. For $20, it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. 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….
I was in my local wine shop the other day and came across this aged Tempranillo in the clearance section- for $ 23. I couldn’t pass it up, a Reserva FFS. In the glass it is slightly hazy, but a deep shade of ruby that I can barely see through. The nose is classic Spain- brambly with ink, huckleberry, sweet blackberry, smoky oak and a dusty component. The palate is a touch dry right off the bat, the tannins never got the message to settle down after 8 years. It’s a full onslaught, drying the gums and overpowering the fruit initially. I finally work my way through the astringent quagmire and start to enjoy the black and blue fruits. The tertiary notes are starting to appear with some leather, charcoal and black tea developing on the mid palate. The finish is a really dry affair with the tannic grip almost too much. I pity the fool who doesn’t like ’em dry. There is a decent acidic component but it is overcome by the tannic structure, a little out of balance methinks. This medium weight wine will pair (begs for) a fatty cut of meat, think Ribeye or Lamb chops. I would consider cellaring some for a while to allow the wine to mature even more, say till 2028. Right now the balance concerns me a bit and it will detract from the scoring, I would hope it softens over time. 89 points and 3 stars. 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….
This 100% Tempranillo is a pretty shade of purple and semi opaque in the glass. The noise gives me rich blueberry, cherry and telltale Spanish earth. The palate has got a nice jab of licorice to go with the dark blue flavor profile. Judicious oak is evident here, which I kinda like and expect from the region. Tannins are well integrated in this 6 year old wine but the acidity is mouth watering. The mid palate is all about it and the finish is as well. The fruit flavors get darker as I transition to the mid length finish. The body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite tart. I find it a touch out of balance, lacking tannins to overcome the acidity, or at least more fruit to give it flavor. It got a decent score from the pros but I am going with 88 points. I picked it up for $15, worth a try but it garners 3 stars from me. Drink till 2025. Salut….
The last and best wine of the night at our 17th Virtual Wine tasting was this Spanish gem from a famous winery. It is predominantly Tempranillo but they added some Garnacha to the blend. It is a rich purple color that is nearly opaque in the glass. The tasters noted Oregano, funk, pepper, earth, dried plum, green olives, white pepper and a minerality from slate on the nose. The palate gave us that stone hint, coffee, tobacco, black tea, blackcurrant, black cherry, dried fig and blueberry. I noted the wine was quite acidic and others mentioned it as not being overly tannic. A medium finish was enjoyed by all. I feel this wine has already started to display tertiary notes and will mature nicely over the next few years. It is not a blockbuster but we all thoroughly enjoyed it. It gets 91 points from me which jibes with the pros and at $30, its a decent drop that’s a 5 star effort in my books. 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….
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….