Posts Tagged ‘tempranillo’

Tim Adams 2006 Clare Valley Tempranillo

Thursday, 16 September, 2010

Tim Adams 2006 Clare Valley TempranilloThis is the first time I’ve tried a straight Tempranillo. I’ve had it blended, in the Bodegas Faustino from Rioja, and reading that review again, I can recall the common strands of flavour compared with this one.

We took this bottle to an Indian restaurant and had some mild curries and rice with it. It wasn’t a calculated match to the food, but turned out to go together well, in my opinion. The aroma of this wine, from the Clare Valley in South Australia, is intriguing. It smells quite obviously of strawberries, with a sweetness that approaches spun sugar, almost fairy floss (or “cotton candy” for the Americans).

But the taste is not sweet – this is quite a dry wine on the palate. There remains a taste of strawberries, and also cherries. And with them, a spiciness of sweet spices. Cinnamon was the most obvious one, and perhaps a hint of nutmeg. The label on the back of the bottle confirms the red berries and cinnamon, but mentions cloves, which I didn’t really pick up myself. And comparing it to the Rioja, in which I also noticed strawberry and spiciness, I’m now starting to get a picture of the character of Tempranillo. I will have to try another one to cement this into place in my tastebuds and mind. And also because I very much liked it.

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!