I decided to try 2 different bottles of 1 type of wine this month. Part of this wine challenge that I’m doing is seeking out wines from the areas that put each variety “on the map” so to speak. Tempranillo is a Spanish variety (grown there for well over 2000 years, actually), so of course I had to find one from Spain! But I also like exploring Texas wines, and Tempranillo happens to be one of the varieties that is doing really well here in my home state.
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Radio Boca “Tempranillo”
Tierra de Castilla, Spain, 2015
Color is a clear, intense ruby red. Its fragrance brings to mind summer-ripe strawberries or even blueberries, with a hint of something a little spicier. The taste is surprisingly mild for a supposedly oak-aged wine — not to say that it doesn’t have any taste, just that I’d expected a much bolder flavor. The smell of berries translated into the taste of berries, ever so slightly acidic, and with something a little more pastry-ish following up the initial fruitiness — vanilla, perhaps?
Becker Vineyards “Texas Tempranillo”
High Plains + Hill Country, Texas, 2014
Has a lovely deep, every-so-slightly orangish garnet color in the glass. Like the Spanish version, I get a strong smell of ripe berries with something a little spicier, or maybe more herb-y. It was very fruity at first taste, but something earthy-spicy caught up to that sweetness pretty quick — like mushrooms with… I don’t know, oregano or thyme or something — plus some definite but not in-your-face oakish tannins.
I drank both of these along with the same food for the sake of fairness — dark rye bread with honey butter, smoked Gouda, rosemary-garlic black olives, and some dark chocolate with cocoa nibs. The strong cheese and bitter/sweet chocolate were PERFECT pairing choices!