Last week I spent three nights in Hamden, CT (by New Haven.) My sister and brother-in-law flew out from Iowa and stayed at my nephew's house and I stayed in a hotel. We all went out to dinner one night to the Central Park Tavern in Hamden and had a very good dinner. Leah had a glass of Riesling and the rest of the adults shared a bottle of Tempranillo which I chose from the wine list.
2011 Legado Munoz Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Tempranillo from the La Mancha district. Medium ruby color with semi-transparency. Nice, soft berry flavors (raspberry); not tannic or too oak-influenced. I was surprised to see that Schneiders in DC has this for $9.99. It was $30 at the restaurant and I figured it was probably at least $15-$17 retail. However, I've had other Tempranillos at the $8 or $9 price point that I enjoyed so I consider this wine to be a real QPR at retail price. I loved the citrus-marinated grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli sides, my brother-in-law loved his filet mignon, another had salad with grilled strip steak, etc. and the children liked the grilled cheese sandwich and the pork, mac 'n' cheese.
I had some time between flights in Philadelphia on the return trip from New Haven and had lunch and wines at Vino Volo in the airport. The cheese plate had a goat's cheese, a sheep's cheese, and Gouda. I tried the flight of Pinot Noirs but found the week's selections less satisfying than a P.N. flight at a Vino Volo on another occasion.
2007 Walnut Block Pinot Noir single vineyard Marlborough, New Zealand. Reddish-brown/umber color. It had the taste of cooked cherries and raspberries. This was described on the notes as pomegranate and licorice. My impression was that it was the "funkiest" N.Z. Pinot Noir I've ever tasted. It grew on me a little at the end of the taste but not one I would purchase again.
2011 Wallace Brook Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. Pale garnet color with transparency. Cherries on the nose and a bit of the Oregon "pine needle" scent. Good with the dried cherries on the cheese plate. A bit pallid or shy on the palate. Maybe too young? I guess I liked this best of the flight of three Pinots but that isn't saying a lot.
2011 Maison Champy Pinot Noir, Burgundy. A couple shades darker than the Oregon or New Zealand Pinots with transparency. Some sous bois on the nose. Pretty nice with the Gouda cheese. More earthy than fruity. I have had better wines from this house in the past.
Remembering the pleasant Tempranillo from dinner in Hamden, I tried a glass of Tempranillo following the flight of Pinots.
2011 Radio Boca Tempranillo, Valencia, Spain. (Wow, a search of wine-searcher.com shows that this is even cheaper than the Munoz Tempranillo. A store in Cincinnati, Ohio lists this for $6.99) A deeper shade of red and less transparency than any of the Pinots in the flight. Red berries on nose and palate. Very fruity and playful. I enjoyed it.