Tarima Organic Monastrell 2011

Another wine post about Devotion?  But of course!  We are all answering the call set out by our fellow wine blogger SAHMmelier for the monthly wine writing challenge (MWWC).  She won the gold medal last time with her entry for the Mystery-themed challenge, so now she has the honor of choosing this month’s theme!  You can read all the posts – and those from previous challenges – over at the MWWC blog by clicking on the awesome wine stain logo.  So what is my take on Devotion?

Well, first let me say that I have been well reminded what devotion means and what it can do as I watch the Olympic athletes compete.  In sport after sport, the backstory pieces about the competitor’s lives are constant reminders and shining examples of devotion.  Take, for example, the Russian pairs figure skater Maxim Trankov.  In order to train, he left his family home at 15 and had to sleep in the basement of an ice skating rink among a bunch of soldiers who were billeted there.  In addition, he received one (evidently only one) free meal a day there.  For three years!  Mr. Trankov is now the proud owner (with his partner Tatiana Volosozhar) of an Olympic gold medal.  But he is not the only athlete with this kind of story.  I’m sure we would hear many similar and perhaps even more compelling stories from other athletes competing – most of whom will not end up with a ribbon around their neck.

As I’ve been watching these Winter Games from my comfy couch, I’ve been devoting myself to a little wine exploration.  One of my recent 2014 Winter Olympics wines was the Tarima Organic Monastrell 2011 which has it’s own story of devotion to tell.  Or perhaps, more precisely, it’s label is devoted to a particular message.  Take a quick look at the picture of the bottle  Did you notice?  This wine was made with certified organic grapes.  In case you missed it on the front, it is repeated on the back label — FIVE times.  I kid you not!  In their defense, Bodegas Volver does produce a Tarima Monastrell that isn’t made with organic grapes.

Winemaker:  Tarima by Bodegas Volver
Wine:  Tarima Made With Organic Grapes
Varietal: Monastrell
Vintage: 2011
Appellation:  Alicante DO, Spain
Price:  $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Spanish Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) was a deep dark garnet color.  The bouquet held musty earth, dark red fruit, wet leather and mothball scents.  Body on this selection was fairly light with a softly plush mouthfeel.  Tannins were moderately grippy and lingering.  Acidity was good and alcohol was at 14.5%.  On the palate I tasted violets, dark plum, and black olive with a finish of bitter wood.  And that despite the fact that it was evidently fermented in stainless steel.

Now that I’ve finished getting this post up, I’ll get back to watching athletes devoted to their sports and (at an acceptable hour) my own wine exploration.  I suppose if I were more devoted —  to either/both — I could have typed this up while sitting on the couch in front of the TV and sipping wine.  Sigh!

Addendum:  As I tasted this bottle, I wondered about the possibility of cork taint.  The bouquet was fairly unusual, to be sure.  So I decided to look around and see what others have said about this selection.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find much on this vintage of the organic Monastrell besides at the Bodegas Volver web page.  The flavor profile I tasted is certainly on the darker side than what is described by the winery.  Of course, I often don’t agree with precisely what a winery says about it’s own wines.  That being said, they do mention “toasty barrel power” which agrees with my bitter wood even though they use only stainless steel.  So …  If anyone else has tasted this wine and can share their own thoughts, I’d be very interested to read your comments.

Badger Mountain Pure Red 2012

Here is my third post from a trip I took awhile back.  In this case, I went to dinner at a local Italian eatery on my first night there.  I won’t name the restaurant because the dish I had was not very good.  In fact, it was bland.  I don’t mean to be negative, but bland Italian food?  That’s hard to do!  Disappointed with my dinner, I was hoping to enjoy the accompanying wine.  Not really being familiar with any of the offerings they had listed, I took a chance on a red blend from Washington.

Winemaker:  Badger Mountain
Wine:  Pure Red
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Columbia Valley, Washington
Price: $26 (3 liter box) at Total Wine

Notes:  As you can see from the label, Badger Mountain is a certified organic vineyard.  According to the winery’s website, this vintage of Pure Red is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (73%) blended with Syrah (19%), Merlot (4%), and Cabernet Franc (4%).  In the glass this was another very dark red.  The bouquet brought me copious scents of ripe berries as well as pepper and a hint of oak.  The body was light, acidity was good, and alcohol was at 13.5%.  It was a pleasant glass of wine that played on the tongue a bit.  Core flavors for me were black raspberry and cola, cherry notes throughout with hints of green herbs on the finish.  There were no real tannins to speak of, and it did seem a bit week in the mid palate.  Otherwise, as I said, it was a pleasant red blend.  With this wine being 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, I’m surprised it didn’t have more tannic structure.  That being said, there isn’t anything wrong with having a gentle house red waiting to welcome you home at the end of a hard day.  At $6.50 per 750 ml, it’s definitely a budget-friendly wine.

Albero Tempranillo Barrica 2010

Yet another Spanish Tempranillo.  This one is made from grapes certified organically grown in the Valencia region and aged in oak barrels (barrica).

Winemaker:  Albero
Wine:  Tempranillo Barrica
Vintage:  2010
Appellation:  Spain, Utiel-Requena (Valencia) DO
Price:  $5.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This selection is made by Spain’s oldest estate bottled winery, dating back to 1335!  To the eye this wine looked inky purple in my glass.  On the nose I found sweet dark fruit and spice.  It was fairly light-bodied with alcohol at 13%.  On the palate I tasted dark fruits, including black currant and some raisin, as well as plenty of olive.  For me the tannins were fairly light, and the finish brought a dash of bitters.  I’m not a big lover of olives except as olive oil, so this won’t become my personal go-to Tempranillo.  Still, it was totally an OK wine.  And I think it will probably do just fine as beverage accompaniment to a pot roast or skirt steak (fajitas are often made from skirt steak, I believe).

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