Tempranillo - Back to the Basics


After last week's lopsided report on Tempranillo I though we needed to refocus ourselves on some of the great regions in Spain that have made Tempranillo what it is today. A small group of Snooth members met in our conference room for the weekly PTP blind tasting. Of course, we still had to include a few domestic wines just to keep things interesting. As with last week's tasting, the results were fairly predictable. The best domestic examples speak loudly of their variety while the Spaniards have their unmistakable accent, rich with deep, dusky soil tones and layered complexities. Perhaps the wonderfully knarled, dry farmed old vines have something to do with that?

While I am very enthusiastic about Tempranillo in California, my notes from last week's tasting can be found here, I'm not sure how these wines will evolve in the cellar. I would recommend drinking them sooner, for the lush, bright fruit. The Spanish wines, in general, have a record for ageing well and even though they may see some of the most extended barrel ageing practiced today, the wines tend to defy the affects of time. In many cases the current release offerings demand additional cellaring before becoming tame enough for many palates. With that in mind I present to you this week's winners!

California Wines for Current Consumption

2005 Coral Mustang Vista Creek Tempranillo
This is a value priced revelation, full of classic herbal, burnt citrus, floral and earthy notes that frame the tense fruit, delivering a complex yet freshly fruity wine that is delightful.

2005 C3 Crazy Eights
A veritable fruit bomb yet with bright acidity that keeps this lightly textured and allows the mouth filling and intense wild cherry and watermelon fruits to shine through.

Spanish Wines for Today and Tomorrow

2004 Ochoa Navarra Crianza
Smooth and silky with notes of forest floor, beef and leather accenting the dark berry fruit. A wine with lovely balance from Rioja's Eastern neighbor.

2000 Miguel Merino Rioja Reserva
With a classic interplay of red fruit and vanilla in the mouth, an elegant, mid-weight feel and a hauntingly sweet finish of sour cherry, vanilla and cafe-au-lait tones this is simply drinking perfectly today.

A Cellar Selection for Today's World

2004 Casajus Ribera del Duero
If you are looking for a GREAT wine for the cellar that won't break the bank THIS IS IT. Smelling a touch gamy with notes of coffee, meat and earth over deep blackberry fruit this packs a tannic wallop in the mouth. Dense and chewy and in need of cellaring but the licorice and cocoa tones reverberate on the long finish. This is a remarkable value.

And with that it's time to move on as we continue our Global Tasting initiative by turning to Cabernet Sauvignon. You can see the wines tasted during the Tempranillo GTi by reading this thread in our forum. Watch out for our upcoming feature on our vertical tasting of Gundlach-Bundschu's Cabernet Sauvignon that will include a special opportunity for Snooth members to secure these perfectly aged wines directly from the winery's Library stocks! Snooth: Helping you find better wine.

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