Welcome once again my friends to another edition of Thursday night wine blogging. Tonight, as promised, we begin our tour through Spain and where else to begin but in the region of Rioja.
Unfortunately, I haven't done as much research as I would have liked to in order to start the Spain series, but this week has been very busy. All culminated today with a presentation where, in the imortal words of Webb Wilder (last of the full grown men), "man, I blew the folks away". So to celebrate I pulled into Sam's Wine on the way home a bought up a mess of Spanish wine.
I'm intrigued by tonight's selection, Faustino Tino Gran Reserva 1995 because it only cost me 25, American. Seems odd, don't you think? A Gran Reserva which means it was a decent vintage, spent 2 years in oak, and three in the bottle before it was released, and yet its only a cool 25 bucks. Go figure!
Rioja is the region in north/central spain and is known for it's full bodied red wines. Made primarily around the Tempranillo grape using techniques important from bourdeax ages ago. Here is a little more on the region if your interested.
But enough of my yappin, lets pop this baby and see what we have.
Zoinks! Thats a big nose. Ok, the minute I popped the cork both me and Mrs. P could smell the bouquet. It is a bit fruity, I hope there is more compexity, but wow that was a nice surprise. So ok the nose is fruity, maybe some rustic scents as well upon further examination.
Fist sip......interesting....the fruit isn't there as much as on the nose and the taste is a bit tight. As I type I can feel it opening in my mouth a little. I'll try another sip. Ah there the nose has really calmed down. The taste is developing as well. Fruit, rustic flavors such as an earthy back taste that is maybe a tad mentholish. Nice. It definately lingers in the mouth, this is a wonderful wine.
I'm going to continue drinking for a bit, and give you an update in a bit. I did want to tell you a little story about a conversation that I had with a sommilier last Friday at a wine dinner. The dinner featured the wines of bourdeax, I can't remember if it was the right or the left bank, but we had medocs and Margauxs so you can look it up if you wish. Thats not the story though.
The story is that we were enjoying our first course accompanied by a white bourdeax, and the somolier comes over to me and opens a bottle of Margaux, I think it was something like L'Argentine, but I can't fully remember. Anyway, he mutters something in French and asks me to try it. Well, it was very acidic and I really did not like the nose at all. So I said, "perhaps its a bit tight and needs to breath". It was either that or it wasn't a very good wine which I think was his real concern. Anyway, he said something interesting, and I thought "oooh, I've got to remember this to tell my wine buddies".
So the guy says, "I don't know how much breathing makes a difference. Sometimes I think it takes time for us to come to a wine too. It is like a woman, they are as they are, and we have to appreciate the beauty they bring and meet them where we work best together". Well, as you can imagine it was an intersting thought taken to French obsurdity, but in a way I do think he has a point. We do have to be ready to accept a wine as it is, and sometimes that does require us in the immortal words of the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke, "get our minds right".
That said, I was really tempted to say to the guy that he better hope breathing will help cuz there was no way I was likely to enjoy that wine otherwise. Turns out, it never got better than crappy. The dinner was good though.
Second glass now and the wine has really come into it's own. It is smooth, full bodied and very long in the mouth. It is not super structured, but it is very elegant. I really enjoy it. The bottle has been open for about a half an hour and it really is something to appreciate, to experience this wine come alive. I tell ya, I think my somollier buddy is nuts. Good wine is, to a certain extent, alive and good wine does grow and develop in the glass.
I'm often struck by people that say they cannot taste things in wine. While I understand that it is unussual for people to remember exact tastes years after they experience them, I do think people can get more from their wine experience than perhaps they are allowing. It depends on attitude, and attention. If you are distracted or too busy, it ain't gonna happen for you. Wine, as with good food, or art requires your attention and expects your appreciation. It's the same difference as the experience of running or walking through the woods. The runner gets a great workout, but the walker sees the beauty. Neither experience is necessarily better, but the focus and concentration are different.
Ok, last comments. A cool thing kind of happens with this wine when you let it sit in the glass. A scent builds up that is not unlike smoke. As I pick up the glass and sniff, I'm reminded of a fall day with the scent of burning leaves coming from somewhere in the distance. The taste is as elegant as before.
So thats it for tonight. A good bottle of wine and my nutty ramblings. Aren't you glad you stopped by?!