I have about as much passion for wine as I do with food. Similarly, the sheer volume of vineyards, varietals, regions and countries producing amazing wine is enough to make your head spin. For the next couple weeks I’m going to be drinking exclusively Spanish wine and making a weekly post each Monday on wine. Without a doubt I have always found the Tempranillo based wines to be well balanced between fruit and tannin, with an indescribably addictive nose, dark ruby red in color and extremely well priced.
Traveling extensively in Napa Valley, tasting my way from downtown Napa to Calistoga I would often find myself thinking during tastings that much of what some of these vineyards (Del Dotto in particular) were trying to accomplish with their cabs was identical to most characteristics of my favorite Riojas. Price point for price point the wines of Spain are just so undervalued. Yes there are extremely expensive wines (one of them listed below is an all time favorite wine), but you can find remarkably well drinking daily wines. The Tempranillo wines tend to have seductive aromas of blackberry, cherry, minerals, and oak. Rich, highly complex flavors of fruits and licorice, with an almost endless finish.
The single best thing about Tempranillo is that it pairs remarkably well with all kinds of food. Drink it along side a steak, roasted meats or grilled meats like pork and lamb, roasted vegetables or pair it with cheese and cured meats.
Some of my favorites Tempranillo from various price points:
Bodegas El Nido – Clio
Bodegas El Nido – El Nido
Bodega Numanthia-Termes Numanthia Toro
Dominio de Pingus – Pingus Ribera del Duero
Bodegas Muga – Rioja Reserva
Bodegas Alto Moncayo – Veraton Campo de Borja
Bodegas Alto Moncayo- Aquilon Campo de Borja
Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay – Gran Reserva Especial
The next time you're buying wine do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of Spanish wine. Look for Reserva or Gran Reserva on the label as those are aged in oak longer.