Montebuena Rioja Cuvee KPF 2012

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!

Winemaker:  Montebuena (by Cosecheros de Labastida)
Wine:  Rioja Cuvee KPF
Varietal:  Tempranillo
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Rioja DOC, Spain
Price:  $8.99 at Whole Foods

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.

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La Finca Tempranillo 2012

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
Vintage:  2012
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.