Friday, October 30, 2009

Tasting Notes: Spicy Reds at JavaMonkey

Fear not, those of you who may be wondering what the heck I'm doing with all this fiction stuff! I have wine notes for you as well.

Last night's tasting at JavaMonkey was "Spicy Reds," a cousin to the ever-popular "Big Ass Reds" that Jess likes to pull out during cold weather. I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of spicy food, but I was intrigued by the idea. Here's what we tasted:

2007 Palacios Remondo La Vendimia (Rioja, Spain): blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo, percentages not provided
The structure of the wine seems delicate after the thick, dark fruit nose promises more. This one is medium-bodied, but like a woman who is told she's not voluptuous enough, it gives the palate a spicy kick on the way out.
Rating: Good

2006 Casa Silva Reserva Carmenère (Colchuaga Valley, Chile):
This one's all about the 5's: five generations of winemakers, and five months on oak. Nice blackberry nose and tongue-coating blackberry-plum with a little toffee, but the finish is nicely spicy instead of burning like the previous wine.
Rating: Very Good

2007 La Posta Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina): Grapes are from the Pizzella family vineyard.
Smooth berry, sharp acidity, and spice that melts to smoke and then evaporates. This one gets the "Most Interesting" award for the night.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2006 Cantele Primitivo (Salento, Italy):
A light nose, but fun on the palate, where the fruit goes to spice to a nice cedar and butter finish.
Random note: These guys are @CanteleWines on Twitter.

2006 Peachy Canyon "Incredible Red" (Paso Robles, California): 100% Zinfandel
A little raisiny, and definitely tastes "hot." I have to admit, I was randomly offended by someplace outside of Georgia daring to use a peach descriptor.
Rating: Good* (had nothing to do with the peachy bit)

2006 Vinum Africa Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch, South Africa):
Earthy, herbal nose. Hubby deemed it to be "leathery," and I agreed.
Rating: Okay*

*I'd like to try those last two on their own or with food before I form a solid opinion on them. Hubby noted that we seemed to have a similar problem to what we encountered while attending the Wine & Chocolate Festival (ohyeah!) in Lodi in February: after so much heavy tannin and spice, the palate just gets burned out. Tonight, I'm drinking an old-vine Lodi zin from Macchia Vineyards, their Prestigious, which is high alcohol content at 15.7% and a little raisiny. I don't know that I would've liked it last night, but I'm very happy with it tonight.

1 comment:

Las Rocas Source said...

Pairing wine with spicy foods can be a tough call. I’ve tried to find a good red to accompany curry sauces but in a lot of instances the sweetness and the tannins mask the flavors of coconut and other essential tastes you want from Thai food. Spicy Latin American, however – anything from rice and beans to pupusas to barbacoa – just begs for a good red that can stand up to the spice without drowning it out or taxing the palate. At Las Rocas we naturally favor a nice Spanish Garnacha, not only because we know a good one (ha!) but because the smoothness complements such meals excellently.