Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's journey to Spain, with a BC twist

Today, let's chat about Tempranillo. For our purposes today, we'll stick to the red version; there is a white mutation known as Tempranillo Blanco but I have no experience with that.

Tempranillo is known mainly as one of the main grapes from Spain. Spain has a huge number of grape varieties, over 400, but 80 percent of their wine comes from only 20 grapes, of which Tempranillo is one.

Tempranillo is grown in many other wine making countries as well, including Portugal where it is known as Tinta Roriz, and it is one of the grapes contained in the Portuguese wine from the Douro region that I have previously written about.

 My first experience with Tempranillo was in Vegas at a wine bar called Onda, in the Mirage hotel. They have a "last bottle" chalk board, where they put up the last bottles they have and sell them at half price. Unfortunately I didn't make any notes on the specific winery that it came from, but it was a $350 bottle that we got for half price, and it was absolutely superb. Sure, at that price, it better be good, but price isn't always a guarantee of quality.

I was in a local liquor store and came across this one:

Valdepenas Gran Reserva - Anciano 2002

Valdepenas is the wine region, Anciano the winery. The "Gran Reserva" got me thinking that it must be good, as "Reserve" wines tend to be made from the best grapes. In this case, however, the notation of "Gran Reserva" only refers to the aging; in order to be so classified, it must be aged at least 5 years.

Still, at the bargain basement price of $12.99, I figured there was little to lose. However, in this case, I got what I paid for. It was dull and unimpressive, and so far from the Tempranillo I had previously encountered that it seemed inconceivable these two wines had come from the same grape.

"Inconceivable?? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya

Rating: 3/10

So I mentioned in the title of this entry there was a BC twist; well, it turns out that Canada is one of the other countries that grows Tempranillo. I am not sure how many BC wineries grow it; not many, for sure. I have tried only one to this point:

Inniskillin 2007 Discovery Series Tempranillo

I can't even find any reference to this wine on their website, which might mean they are no longer producing it; if so, that's a shame, as it was excellent.

It would pay to decant for a couple of hours, and would improve with further cellaring, but the leather and tobacco bouquet gives way nicely to a fruity finish. Certainly not as incredible as the expensive bottle I had in Vegas, but a huge, HUGE step up from the cheaper one listed above.

At $29.99 it's a pretty good value and if you are a fan of this grape, you will love this. Pick some up if you can find it.

Rating: 7.5/10

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