I warned you that the Tempranillo chronicles would continue. The wine shop had cases and cases of the stuff on sale a couple of weeks ago. A sign from the universe? Oh, most decidedly so.
I chose these three Tempranillos primarily on their price, averaging about $15 per bottle (and therefore not terribly taxing to the old $12 buds). And lest you think that I still paid too much, the prices I’ve listed here are the shelf label prices and not the sale prices. No one told me there would be math.
The Yellow One
A confession: I’ve walked past this label a thousand times over the years. In my head it says “tequila” although why I would think tequila would be stocked with wine is anyone’s guess. So finally I gave the bottle the attention it deserved.
A deep red violet in the glass and a bit of rubber tire on the nose, the 2011 Campo Viejo Rioja backed me off a little. But on the palate I tasted lots of fruit and a surprising hint of floral. This wine had that Tempranillo “tingle” too. I felt for the $13 price this wine tasted kind of exactly like I expected: not great, but not bad. We had it mid-week alongside a meatloaf and salad and I think it suited the meal.
The Orange One
Not a straight-up Tempranillo (85%, to be exact) I had big expectations for this $18 2008 Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva. I was disappointed. It was a very deep garnet in the glass but the nose was not all that easy to decipher…some anise, maybe? The wine was a little jammy with perhaps a tiny hint of licorice, and that Tempranillo “tang” (although, who knows? that could have been the graciano or mazuelo). With this wine we paired a chicken cordon bleu and some steamed baby peas. My overall impression was “meh.” This wine just didn’t make much of an impression.
The One With the Deer
Again, judging a wine by its label, I expected to love this one, and I did actually like it the best of the three. The El Coto 2009 Rioja Crianza is 100% Tempranillo and I paid $15 for it. Garnet in the glass with a subtle nose I found the wine fruity and tingly. We paired this one with a sage-encrusted roast pork and a risotto made with mushroom stock. It was a good match. This wine reminds me a lot of the Finca Museum Vinea Crianza which is my favorite Tempranillo thus far in my storied tasting history. Still, in my little wine journal I rated El Coto 4+ stars out of 5.
The upshot? I still haven’t found a Tempranillo that I flat out love, but I think it’s out there. I need to dig a little deeper to find it.