Archive for March, 2010

Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Faustino VII

Saturday, 6 March, 2010

Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Tempranillo/Mazuelo
Having tried most of the major international grape varieties by now, I thought it was time to try something a little more localised. Since we were planning to go out to a Spanish restaurant for tapas tonight, I decided it would be a good opportunity to try a Spanish wine.

This wine from the Rioja region in northern Spain is made from 90% tempranillo and 10% mazuelo (also known as carignan) grapes, aged for 10 months in American oak. Tempranillo is the signature grape of Spain, so I wanted to find something using it in our local wine shop. They had a 100% tempranillo rosé, but M. expressed a desire for a straight red, so we opted for this blend.

Having recently read up a little on Rioja style wines and tempranillo grapes, I was expecting a juicy, fruity style of wine, fairly light, with notes of strawberries. But immediately upon sniffing my first glass, I knew this was something different. It was pungent with spicy aromas, reminiscent of my experiences so far with shiraz. Despite this, the first taste on the tongue was indeed light and fruity, and that hint of strawberry came through. It wasn’t juicy though, being noticeably dry on the palate – that dryness I think is associated with the wine term “tannin”, but which I’m not yet confident enough to sling around as though I really know what I’m talking about. I’m guessing this came from the oak.

And then after about 5 seconds in the mouth, the flavour exploded in a burst of spices. It was quite something. That aroma of shiraz came back in the flavours which included just a hint of black pepper and other spicy flavours I can’t yet quite assign more specific descriptions to. It felt controlled though – balanced and not overpowering like some of those full-bodied shirazes can feel to me. It was a bit of a shock, but not unpleasant. After a few sips, I really got into it and enjoyed this wine a lot. It complemented my dinner nicely (tapas of fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and fried whitebait, followed by veal in a peppery mushroom sauce). We normally barely manage half a bottle over dinner, but we almost finished this one.

At home now and in range of my wine book and Wikipedia, I see that the 10% mazuelo may be responsible for the stronger, spicier flavours in this blend. I’ll have to try to find a 100% tempranillo red somewhere for comparison. A very interesting and eye opening excursion to Spain!

Getting excited about Star Wars again

Wednesday, 3 March, 2010

Over at Darths & Droids my friends and I are approaching the end of our treatment of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Which means it’s time for us to sit down together and watch Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, so we can prepare for the writing ahead.

When we announced this on our Facebook page, we suggested that readers might like to join us in watching the movie at the same time, making it into a global event of sorts. Someone responded that we should host an IRC chat during the movie and, not being people to shy away from an intriguing idea, we decided to do so. (Not that this was intended to be an ad, but it’s at 09:00am GMT, Friday 5 March, on the Freenode IRC network, channel #darths, because I know someone will ask.)

It’s hard to say how many people we’ll actually get, but there are some fans making very excited posts about it. Now I’m stopping to consider what this really means.

We may have a significant number of people excited about being up at times like 1am (West Coast USA) or 4am (East Coast USA), on a Friday morning what’s more, to watch a Star Wars prequel movie. I’m not sure if that’s happened since 1999.

If you put your mind to something and share it with the world, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Darths & Droids began as just something we do in our lunchtimes. We do it because we like creating something new and hopefully interesting out of the cultural legacy of Star Wars. We genuinely like Star Wars, and want to be able to say we did something positive for the community of fans out there, whether they be loyal and as enthusiastic as ever, or somewhat jaded and disappointed by recent(ish) additions to the canon.

Getting people excited about Episode III, either again, or perhaps even for the first time. That’s just cool.