Saturday, February 19, 2011

Finca El Tesso Tempranillo, 2008

Finca El Tesso wines, from Bodega Martinez Paiva, comes form a relatively unknown region of western Spain. The Ribera del Guadiana D.O. is in the Extremadura region of Spain and is characterized by a mild climate with Atlantic influence. This area is known for producing Black Iberian pigs used in producing some of Spain’s best hams. This wine is imported by Small Vineyards, of Seattle, and represents their philosophy of finding special wines that showcase the regional character of Italy and Spain. This Tempranillo is a very interesting wine and we had fun drinking this wine over a two day period this week. What made this wine exciting was the evolution of flavors that occurred as the wine was decanted and exposed to air. Many wines will change in their aromas and flavors as they are exposed to air. It is generally acknowledged that these changes reveal the full potential of the wine and allow for smoothness, balance and depth to fully appear. The Finca El Tesso Tempranillo has a deep purple/ruby color and is nearly opaque. I can not describe this wine without “time-lines” to highlight how the tastes and aromas changed immensely after some short-term decanting. Initially there is an interesting nose of black berries, lead pencil and the unexpected, fresh apples and pears. In the mouth the surprise continues with a medium bodied wine showing fresh black cherry, plum, graphite, some burnt rubber and the still present, apples and pears. Wow, we were not expecting Autumn fruits. There are a medium amount of tannins and subtle acidity that contribute to the interesting profile. As the evening progressed, the decanted wine went through a very noticeable metamorphosis of flavor, aroma and overall character that left us amazed of the transformation. The aromas of apples and pears disappeared and were replaced by prune, fig and tar. The flavors of apples and pears also left and were replaced by stewed prunes, licorice, chocolate nibs and burnt cedar. Even the “mouth-feel” changed, becoming more full bodied, tannic and dense. This was an “amusement park” of a wine that gives you two distinct choices; drink it quickly (fresh and quirky) or let it open-up (elegant and powerful)… your choice! The decanted version of this wine pairs well with a wood-grilled NY Steak. I purchased this Tempranillo at Wine World Warehouse, in Seattle, for about $11.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Domaine la Garrigue Cuvee Romaine, 2009

Last week we enjoyed a bottle of Domaine Andezon Cotes du Rhone Red Wine. This wine was predominantly Syrah and we thought it was really delicious and was a great value from the 2009 vintage. This weekend we tried another lovely wine from the 2009 vintage, but this time the wine is predominantly Grenache with a small amount of Syrah and Mourvedre. Cuvee Romaine is another custom cuvee for Eric Solomon Selections made by famed Rhone oenologist, Philippe Cambie. This wine is well crafted and has a deep purple color and an expressive nose of black cherry, licorice and violets. This wine is full bodied and loaded with ripe black fruit, raspberry jam, and herbes de Provence. The are abundant velvety tannins, crisp acidity and notable minerality that balance this impressive wine. This wine is very nice now, but should soften and develop beautifully with a few years in the cellar. We bought the Domaine la Garrigue Cuvee Romaine at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $14.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Andezon Cotes du Rhone, 2009

Eric Solomon is one of my favorite importers of wines from France and Spain. Back in 1994, Eric visited the Vignerons d’Estazarques and met their winemaker, Jean-Francois Nicq. They decided to create a custom bottling of old vine Syrah from one of the wineries best parcels, Andezon. Eric Solomon has a talent for finding great winemakers that will join him to create outstanding wines to import to the United States. This 2009 Cotes du Rhone is made from 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache. In the glass this wine has a deep, dark ruby color with black and purple hues. There are beautiful aromas of ripe cherries, raspberries and roses. This is a medium to full bodied wine with a rich mouth-feel and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and cassis. There is a delicious creaminess in the mouth and the fruit forward profile of this wine is balanced by nice acidity, smooth tannins along with spicy black pepper on the finish. Definitely more “New-World” then Old, there is pure pleasure in drinking this lovely wine. This wine can be found at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13. Pair this wine with any meal or sip with your favorite cheese.