Boston Wine Expo 2000

Tempranillo Tasting Notes



Wines are listed in the order in which they were presented for tasting.

Bodegas Ochoa Navarra Crianza '96 -- Ruby colored, but some orange-brown around the rim seems a bit out of place in such a young wine. Odd tobacco and herbal nose, with some leathery notes. Later, some cherry and spice aromas appear. Tastes of dill, with slightly milky red cherry and plum flavors. More leather and spice show up on the finish, with lots of tannin.
B-

Torres Coronas Penedés '96 -- Not a Crianza, but it could be labeled as one. Made from 85% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and spent 12 months in oak before bottling. Dark ruby in color, with no sign of browning. Although the aromas were a little reserved at first, a bit of coaxing revealed a good mix of leather, spice, cherry and oak. This wine is rounder and less acidic than the Ochoa, with plum spice, vanilla and black cherry flavors. Finishes smooth but firm, with lush oak and dark cherry notes. According to Olson, the list price is under $10, which is a good deal.
B

Bodegas Fariña Fin del Rio Toro Reserva '93 -- From what Steven Olson called "the last D.O. before Portugal," this wine has a very different character, which Olson compared to Zinfandel's "brambly" notes. As a Zin-fan, I'm not sure I'd agree, but it is a different type of Tempranillo, with a much darker purple color than the wines above, less acid and lower levels of tannin. Shy nose, but shows some black cherry, dill and spice aromas, along with a whiff of alcohol. Ripe and lush in the mouth with somewhat simple plum and cherry flavors, which continue through the finish. Doesn't have the earthy or leathery characteristics normally associated with Tempranillo. Should list for approximately $12.
B

Bodegas Protos Ribera del Duero Crianza '96 -- This wine spent 16 months in oak, and it definitely shows. Purple color, with aromas of leather, oak, smoke, pencil shavings, oak, some barnyard smells, modest plum fruit, and, did I mention oak? Tastes like someone sprinkled No. 2 shavings on a bowl of plums and cherries. Tannic finish, with milky fruit flavors. While this wine shows too much oak for my taste, there is some lush fruit underneath the wooden frame, so some people may enjoy it more than I did.
B-

Bodegas y Viñedos Alion Ribera del Duero Crianza '96 -- Made by the same people as the famous Vega Sicilia wines, Steven Olson said that this bottling marked their entry into the expanding market for modern-style (somtimes called international-style) Spanish wines. Aged for 16 months in new oak, it has a very dark purple color. Right now, it seems very tightly-wound and young, showing aromas of oak and pencil shavings, but not much else. There's lots of oak in the mouth, too, but with generous plum and cherry flavors hiding underneath. Long, full finish with plenty of plummy flavor, and a good tannic grip. Slightly acidic at the very end. This wine needs some time to come together and open up, but it still shows some class now. At $35, I wouldn't call it a bargain, though.
B+

Bodegas Ramón Bilbao Rioja Reserva '95 -- Lighter in color than the Alion, but still has a deep purple-red hue. Smoke and spice dominate the nose, along with a milky undertone. The milky aroma carries over into the mouth, along with plum, cherry and toasty oak. Finishes strong with lots of plum and black cherry flavors supported by a strong tannic frame. This wine will probably be better in a few years, when the tannins have had more time to integrate.
B+

Bodegas Finca Valpiedra Rioja Reserva '95 -- Has a pleasant purple-red color that is lighter than either of the preceding two wines. Raspberry and cherry aromas emerge first, followed by some minty menthol notes. However, this wine's flavors don't match the nose, with pronounced plum and licorice notes that follow through onto the finish, where they are joined by smoke and lots of tannin.
B+

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva '90 -- Red, with a little bit of brick color at the rim. Aromas of plums, tobacco and spice give plenty of interest in the nose, while the mouth offers an abundance of plum, cherry and anise flavors. Lush and smooth, with good acidity and a long aftertaste of plum and anise. The tannins are very smooth, but add plenty of grip. This wine is drinking very well now and is worth seeking out.
A-


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