Pallas Tempranillo 2013

What an interesting label this wine has. It’s a picture of a bunch of rocks.  That’s all – just rocks.  Are they not-so-subtly telling us something about the “tierra” or terroir in the area?  Could be.  This red wine hails from the area known as Castilla – La Mancha and is categorized in the “Vino de la Tierra” classification which is just below Denominación de Origen or DO and above plain old table wine.

The vineyard’s name, also interesting to me, is another name for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom OR a form of the Spanish verb pallar.  Pallar means to extract or glean.  Which is the basis for the vineyard name?  Heck if I know!  Maybe both inasmuch as a person with wisdom is able to extract or glean pertinent information from raw data and make it useful.  Yes, I know I’m a bit of a word geek.  Can’t help myself: I love language.  Of course, I also love wine which is the purpose of this blog.  So I’ll get on with it.

Winemaker:  Pallas by Finca Las Cruces
Wine:  Tempranillo
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain
Price:  $8.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  The color was very dark garnet with tinges of purple.  It had an earthy bouquet with scents of pine, blackberry and quinine.  Medium-bodied, this Tempranillo had good acidity and medium tannins.  At 14% alcohol it was what I consider dry.  On the palate, the flavors I tasted were woodiness aplenty, blackberry, some pepper and quinine.  I thought it had a fairly bitter affect overall, so I would recommend pairing this wine with a meat dish rather than serving it at a cocktail party.


365 Paul Valmer Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Here is another of the Whole Foods private label selections.  Like the Paul Valmer Chardonnay, this wine is made in Spain by Felix Solis.

Winemaker:  Felix Solis for Whole Foods
Wine: 365 Paul Valmer Cabernet Sauvignon
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2011
Appellation: Castilla, Spain
Price: $5.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This is not a Cabernet Sauvignon for Cab fans, but perhaps one for Pinot Noir lovers.  Seriously.  In the glass, the color was a deep, dark ruby.  On the nose I detected gentle scents of earth and berries.  In fact, the bouquet reminded me of a drink mix I had years ago when I was living in Germany.  The particular flavor (scent, actually) this brought to mind was called Forest Berry (Waldbeere).  But I digress.  The Paul Valmer Cab was light-bodied.  I’d even call it thin.  It had moderate tannins, decent acidity, and the alcohol was at 12.5%.  The flavors I found in this budget-friendly vino were a core of cherry and plum, some oak, a tiny bit of pepper, a touch of cranberry on the finish, and an herbal component I can best compare with Stevia – in part because of the light sweetness of the wine.  I didn’t dislike this 365 selection at all, but I prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon with more body and structure.  Personal preferences aside, I think you could certainly drink this with a turkey dish or a light pizza (like spinach and chicken or ham and banana peppers).

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

365 Paul Valmer Chardonnay 2011

Another offering from the Iberian Peninsula – this time a Spanish white.  By the name, of course, you can tell it’s one of the Whole Foods private label selections.  I actually purchased the Tres Ojos Garnacha on the same trip.  Although I didn’t plan on getting only Spanish wines, I guess I was in a Spanish frame of mind that day.

This wine was labeled as Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.  As I’m not especially well versed in wines from Spain, I did a little research to find out what that means.  Turns out that the Vino de la Tierra is a kind of geographic (and wine quality) classification that is one step below the well-known Denominación de Origen (DO).  Akin to the French “Vin de Pays,” the Vino de la Tierra designation represents a wine quality above simple “table wine.”

Winemaker:  Felix Solis for Whole Foods
Wine: 365 Paul Valmer White Wine
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2011
Appellation: Castilla, Spain
Price: $5.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Spanish white was a pale yellow in the glass.  For me the bouquet held primarily citrus.  On the palate this was a very, very light-bodied wine.  Sipping it, I found a somewhat sweet Chardonnay with flavors of citrus (lemon and grapefruit) and melon along with some toasty spice notes and bitter grass on the finish.  Acidity was good, and the label puts alcohol at 12.5%.  The problem here in my opinion is that it is so light.  When chilled, it comes across very tight with mostly the grass and a bit of citrus.  As it warmed to room temperature, the rest of the flavors were coaxed out.  So you might consider room temperature (or less chilled, anyway) as an option when serving it.  Even then, the flavors were pretty faint to me.   As a result, I’m not sure this wine would stand up well to much in the way of food.  Maybe a salad or some young cheese.