What is a good way to celebrate good news at work? When I say good news, I mean really good news. Remember the trip to Montreal I mentioned? Well, the participants rated the meetings and presenters (of which I was one). I don’t know if it was that my attempt at dredging up college French was passable or what … but I got good “grades.” And that makes me very happy. So I decided to reward myself by tasting my first Rioja ever. Yes, it’s true! I know it might have been more fitting to have gone Canadian or French, but it was a serendipitous celebration. I pulled from the bottles I had on hand, don’t you know!
Notes: This Spanish red was more of an eggplant color with tons of bouquet redolent with barnyard, oak, earth, tangy dark berries and spice. I really enjoyed the bouquet a lot. Acidity was fairly high and tannins were also on the high side in this medium-bodied selection. On the tongue, I thought this inexpensive Rioja was pretty yummy. I tasted rich dark fruit, tea leaf, tar, a hint of pepper, brambly tannins, as well as notes of baked rolls on he long finish. In describing it, I wouldn’t call it chewy exactly but then I wouldn’t call it not chewy, either. Is that confusing? Well, try it and see what I mean. I think it would be a nice accompaniment to a steak dinner, but there is plenty to enjoy by itself.
Drinking cheap wine has it’s ups and downs. There was a time I didn’t think anything below $5 was worth even trying, and I didn’t expect to really love a wine that wasn’t over say $20. But I know better now. And I’m surprised again and again at how many very OK wines are below $10 and some even sub $5. Thus, I gave this Tempranillo from Finca La Celia a try.
Winemaker: Finca La Celia
Wine: La Finca Tempranillo
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
Price: $3.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: I found this inexpensive Tempranillo very thin-bodied. It has a pretty garnet color in the glass. Alcohol is at 13%. On the nose was dark fruit and menthol. This wine takes a long time to breathe during which there is very little fruit flavor. Once I got some oxidation going, it presented dark berry and plum, menthol, very light notes of spice and occasionally brief hints of a porty-raisin taste on the finish. Despite that, the main thrust to me was the bitter menthol which overwhelmed most of the other flavors quickly and lingered. Even at this price, I probably won’t buy this one again.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.