Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An Early Young 2002 Wine

Temprano: Spanish for early
Crianza: The youngest; Spanish for something that is raised or nursed

My favorite Spanish region is Rioja because of the Tempranillo grape. Wines made from this grape are somewhat light, unlike a Zinfandel which is usually grown in hot climates like Spain. The alcohol levels are low to medium. Cherries are the common flavor associated with a young, or Crianza, Tempranillo wine. Such is the case with the 2002 Montecillo Crianza I had last night.

Bodegas Montecillo was founded by Celestino Navajas in 1874 in the town of Fuenmayor. Thanks to the expertise that his son Alejandro acquired in France, the bodega was one of the first to adapt Bordeaux winemaking techniques (like aging in oak) to Spanish grapes.

Tasting Notes: 2002 Montecillo Crianza ($9.99)

Color: Ruby red

Aroma: Syrah like smell

Taste: Slight cherry flavor, not sweet or sour, just a hint of the fruit. The tannins are light. No oak detected despite the wine being aged a year in oak barrels. The medium alcohol level of 13% is well balanced.

Finish: Light tannins and a finish that lingers. The wine went well with dinner, but when sipped afterwards, the taste stayed for several minutes after swallowing. A pleasant after taste that made me want to take another sip.

I liked this wine, but then I'm partial to Tempranillos. I had the wine with a sausage soup made from mild sausage, chicken broth and tomatoes. Though a mild Zinfandel may have gone better with the soup, the pairing was alright.

If you're looking to try a nice Tempranillo from Rioja, the Montecillo wouldn't be a bad start. However, my favorite is from one of the best producers of Rioja: Cune.

1 comment:

Dr. Debs said...

The soup sounds great--and just the kind of thing the Spanish would have with their tempranillo provided you flung lots of garlic in there, too! Sometimes tempranillo does better with more spicy food.

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