Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tasting Notes: Freedom, thy name is Tempranillo

I've got a confession to make. Next to Zinfandel, Tempranillo may just be my favorite grape. Consequently, I was really ready to enjoy this past Thursday's tasting at JavaMonkey, for that reason and because I hadn't been out of the house all day.

The wines are all 100% Tempranillo and come from Spain, so I'll just list names and regions:

2007 Campos Reales (La Mancha):
This one has been a favorite in the past, so I'm wondering if this vintage may not be quite as good as previous ones. The nose is buttery and a little musky, and it opens up to blackberry. It is light to medium-bodied with a lot of cranberry and a little pomegranate. Someone designated it as "Ocean Spray [juice]" wine.
Rating: Good
Note: According to my blog archives, I reviewed the 2008 Campos Reales in April. It was bigger, fruitier, and more complex than this 2007. So, if you're looking for a good, basic Tempranillo, go for the 2008.

2006 Sierra Cantabria (Rioja):
Although it's from Rioja, it's not a Crianza. Blue/blackberry nose, and the middle has a nice structure from the oak. The problem with this one is the major pepper kick at the end that someone described as "caustic."
Rating: Good

2007 Emilio Moro Finco Resalso (Ribera del Duoro):
Dark fruit with a little toasted almond on the nose. Sour cherry and currant with a silky texture that again went a little rough on the finish. A second tasting later revealed that it had smoothed out, so just let it open.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2005 Urban Ribera (Ribera del Duero):
Can tell on the nose that this will be a "hot" one with 14.5% alcohol. The dominant flavor is blueberry. Someone designated it as "blueberry pie," but I didn't get enough butter for that.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2006 Codice Tinto (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla):
This one has a hot nose, too, but it smoothed out with some good swirling. In addition to its dark fruit, it has some clove, spice, and a little butter. This medium-bodied wine could have come earlier in the tasting.
Rating: Very Good

2005 Venta Mazzaron (Tierra del Vino de Zamora):
With its smoky nose and bacon overtones on the palate, this was the table favorite. The combination of fruit and smoke made me want to pair it with a Belgian entree, maybe cherries and meatballs (yes, that's a real Belgian dish).
Rating: Very Good

Random Thoughts:
A trio of Emory students came to the previous wine tasting, Blends, armed with camera and notepads to do a feature for the student paper. The next to the last paragraph cracked me up:

Although the relaxed venue was enjoyable, wine aficionados may not want to head to JavaMonkey. A fellow taster sitting next to me was rather pretentiously swirling and sniffing his wines, a behavior that may be common at many wine tastings, but which seemed out of place at this one.

Don't worry, wine aficionados, you can come sit with us. We sip and swirl non-pretentiously.

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