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Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Otto » Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:54 pm

I have little experience with Tempranillo (or Temp based blends), but due to a recent discussion elsewhere on the board and my usually very good experiences with old Rioja, I want to start experimenting with them.


TN: Bodegas Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial 1982 Rioja 12,5% 55,10€ 100% Tempranillo according to the back-label

I recently bought this Montecillo. I was going to save it for my 25th b-day in a couple more months, but after a horrible day at work I needed something to cheer me up. This wine certainly did that.

This wine is like me and not only in its age: It is bright red (hmmmm, maybe I should cut down on the booze for a while?), mature but not browning. It seems to bit too voluptious and fleshy (yes, yes, cut down wine and go jogging a bit more for me too ;) ) and very red-fruit forward with lovely mature and savoury tone to it. I love the bright citrussy aspect that the old Riojas I have had have - if you'll forgive a very personal descriptor, I find it is exactly the sensation of kumquat. The palate is big in its fruit, bright and red toned, with nice acidity keeping it refreshing and very moreish (yes, yes, I know VS said that the variety is notoriously low in acid, but I can only say what I perceive in the glass). Very nice. I did prefer the more savoury, less fruity notes of a recent Monte Real 1981 (it was 20€ cheaper, too!), but even this very fruity example was a lovely old Rioja. Must try to get a couple more if stocks last and my cash flow increases.

-O-
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by James Roscoe » Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:15 pm

Otto, I like the more recent Montecillo's. I loved the '94s. They seem to be getting a little spoofy with each new vintage, but I am more tollerant of spoofiness than you are. I am glad you enjoyed the wine.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:55 pm

Otto, that is a good subject for an Open Mike. Nice to study this varietal, now where are the guys from California who will tell us about the Tempranillo vinified over here??!!
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:11 am

James Roscoe wrote:Otto, I like the more recent Montecillo's. I loved the '94s. They seem to be getting a little spoofy with each new vintage, but I am more tollerant of spoofiness than you are. I am glad you enjoyed the wine.


There was a Montecillo tasting in town last week that I had to miss. Mike B was there,maybe he will show up here with some comments?
I am up ealy this morning, some horse barn chores, but pulled out the Jancis grape bible. She has some informative things to say about tempranillo and highlights the Ribera del Duero region for producing some of the better wines (in her opinion). Right now shifting through some recent Spain TNs!!!

WTN: `03 Alejandro Fernandez Pesquera Crianza (R del Duero).

I managed to taste briefly at a recent "pairing food and wine" tasting downtown. Deep ruby in colour with nose showing earth, black fruits, some meatyness. One taster noted "a floral quality",I liked it initially. On the palate, I found some spice, earthness,plum and blackcurrant. Good medium length but tad modern for me! Other views heard included "luscious and velvety". I do not think same comments will be made when I open the `01 PradoRey for Otto`s exercise here!! Have to finish my Chianti first however!!!
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Tim York » Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:29 pm

IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA Rioja 1987 – Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. (Tempranillo 85%, Graciano 10%, Mazuelo 5% for the 1998 GR). Alcohol 12.5% vol.

For me, wines like this represent a reference point towards which Tempranillo based Riojas should aspire.

C: A beautifully transparent light/medium red with some bricking at the rim. N: Elegant, deep and complex with kirsch hints. P: Very linear, harmonious and “sweet” with a gentle crescendo to the rear of the palate followed by a long diminuendo. Complex aromas with velvety mouth-feel encased in a gently firm structure. (All traces of the prolonged wood ageing are perfectly integrated.)

This shows the same sort of elegance and harmony as many fine mature Médocs but darker and sweeter. Perhaps a ‘cello compared to the violins and violas of a Médoc. It was a perfect accompaniment for the traditional Easter lamb. However, I suspect that this style is despised by the “modernists”.


I guess that, like the Bordeaux varieties, Tempranillo needs a blend with other varieties for the best results and I picked up the following interesting comments on the role of Tempranillo in the blend from the site of Lopez Heredia (another producer of classical Rioja).

Tempranillo makes up 70-80% of the (Lopez H) blend. “A larger proportion of Tempranillo would produce heavier, thicker wines of deeper stronger colour and of rather uninteresting taste. The virtue of Mazuelo and , above all, Graciano is that they bring to the final product that fine sparkling ruby-red colour and that freshness vigour and personality which characterise the best table wine.”
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Michael K » Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:59 pm

Here's one from California.

2003 Viader Dare Tempranillo

Tasted this at Viader in Napa Valley. I was surprised that this varietal was grown here. Nice deep color but it tasted like a new world tempranillo (very forward, fresh and sunny). Wine was focused with red fruit, cherry and a hint of secondary flavours. On the palate, the same with some tobacco. Decent structure but may not be a long termer.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Ross » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:06 pm

Boeger Winery near Placerville California, and 15 minutes away from where gold was discovered at Sutters Mill.

Here's how they describe the 2002 edition which they sell for $25.00 a bottle:


2002 Reserve Milagro

Aromas: Toasty oak, blackberry, fig, leather, tobacco, and cedar. Palate: Flavors of blueberry, caramel, vanilla, toasty oak, butter and a hint of cedar. Soft acidity, mainly evident on the finish. Medium-full bodied, smooth and luscious. Cellar potential: Quite ageable, as with most Tempranillo/Rioja blends. Cellar for as long as you like. Additional comments: Our Tempranillo blends are the one type of wine made at Boeger Winery where we try to emulate the style of another region; in this case, the Rioja region of Spain. These wines are made in traditional Rioja style; We blend the other main grape varieties of the Rioja region with it as necessary and we age the wines for a minimum of three years between barrel and bottle before release. The result are these incredibly unique wines that are ready to drink but still incredibly ageable. The extended aging before release results in a wine that seems almost “pre-cellared.” Some of the original fruitiness has changed into the complex wine before you.


I attended a tasting in San Francisco in March 2001 of wines from this region, and the 1997 Boeger Tempranillo El Dorado County California stood out as my wine of the tasting of over 80 different wines. Very rich and fascinating; I gave it five stars.

I'll find a couple of my later tasting notes; the winery's notes are very accurate according to my memory.

My notes indicate one of the strengths [and the weaknesses] of the region; many microclimates but a lack of focus:

David Jones, proprietor of Lava Cap Vineyards [another personal favorite] and past president of Family Winemakers of CA, described the geological and climatogical attributes of the region. Jones said Lava Cap was the largest winery in the AVA, with 30,000 cases. He had a remarkable series of charts showing climate and elevation, as well as soil types. Some quotes:

Almost any type of grape will grow well in this AVA because of the differences in elevation. As a result the area lacks focus. He believes this is the best place in the world for Petite Sirah; Zinfandel was first planted here in 1856.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Brian K Miller » Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:45 am

Artesa, a Spanish-owned winery located in Carneros outside Napa City, offers a Tempranillo. It's been quite a while since I tried it, but I remember liking it. Dark purple color, and I recall it being pretty much fruit-forward (no aging yet). I also remember a distinct "blueberry" note in the taste profile. I don't recall where they sourced the grapes for this wine-I doubt they came from Carneros. 8)
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Dale Williams » Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:02 pm

In another thread I just posted notes below. I think the Ercavio is 100% Tempranillo, the Rioja primarily Tempranillo. Very very different wines.


2003 Ercavio Tempranillo Roble (Tierra de Castlla)
Big jammy fruit, very ripe dark berries with a smooth creamy texture. Not much oak evident, this is all about the fruit. I'd probably have guessed a blend of typically Rhone grapes blind, reminds me of a Tardieu-Laurent Rhone though not as oaky. Not my favorite style, but well-done and very popular. B

2004 Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza
Fairly light bodied, all red berries (especially raspberry). Clean, OK sipper, though very short on finish. B-
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:13 pm

Campo Viejo? Have not seen the Gran Reserva in ages, have some out your way Dale?
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:50 am

Just bumping up as I have been looking around and would like to taste some more!! One red I came across is the `00 Abrazo Gran Reserva from area of carinena.This wine is a blend of garnacha, tempranillo and carinena.
However, the `01 PradoRey is the next victim, possibly tonite!
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Jenise » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:48 pm

On Monday we opened an 88 Montecillo Reserva to celebrate the life of one of our cats, born that year. The wine came out stinking of brett. We put the wine back in the bottle and corked it up for another day, in case the brett would blow off.

In its place we opened an 89 Prado Enea. It was quite tight and by rights should have been given several hours in a decanter; I thought it would open in the glass more than it did. We corked the bottle after the first glass and both Vacu-Vinned and refrigerated it. Last night we had the remainder. It was fully open. Brownish purple color. It tasted of Christmas pudding and ash--plummy and slightly stewed with dates and spice. Not bad but not great, and not at all like any Rioja I've had before or Rioja as I expect it to be. This is a second-hand bottle that probably had some storage issues in it's life.

Meanwhile I resampled the 88 Montecillo. A very pleasant surprise because as many times as I do the recork-and-set-aside routine just in case, the effort rarely pays off, the brett had indeed departed. Lovely fruity-spicebox nose with orange blossom and leather notes. Youthful in the way the Prado wasn't. I'd like to think that, unlike the Prado Enea, I would immediately have recognized this as tempranillo. I recorked it, and we'll have it tonight with veal marsala.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:49 pm

I have found some `98 GR from this winery. $30 Cdn. What is the opinion?
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Holger B. » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:21 am

Viña Alberdi Reserva 2000 (La Rioja Alta)
The nose is very oldfashioned (in a good way): Dung, hay, leather, vanilla, red berries, maybe a little vinegar and oxidation. Together these scents form a very irresistable whole that is very seductive, at least to me. The palate is kind of fruity, but there is enough acidity to keep it fresh. Not overly long or complex, and not very concentrated either, but a very charming, easy-drinking wine, and kind of reminds me of Musar. Will definately buy again, especially at this price, around 13 Euro.

Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999 (La Rioja Alta)
This is the bigger brother of Alberdi. This one is clearly a more serious wine, the nose reveals this right away, with its animalic, meaty and earthy character. There is also a (not very pleasant) whiff of ammonia, but this dissapears with some decanting. The palate is very much alive, and goes through at least three distinct phases in the glass: the first one is kind of elegant and reminds me of a Burgundy, the second one is not as interesting (too much strawberries), and the third one is more tannic, earthy and dark. It always keeps a nice acidity with pronounced red citrus notes. This wine is not as charming as Alberdi, but more serious and severe, not meant to please in the same way. At around 20 Euro, I might buy this again, but I think I will try the top-end Rioja Alta 904 before that, to see what this bodega can do if you pay up.

I really like the style of this bodega, very oldfashioned, the wines has a real sense of place that I like. I also bought a Vina Bosconia Gran Reserva 1981 (R López de Heredia) the other day that I will try soon, as I hear that this bodega has a similar style. Has anyone tried it?
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:10 am

2 great wines there from traditional houses. Thanks for this posting, usually able to find such wines when I visit London!!
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Marc D » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:22 pm

Jenise wrote:

In its place we opened an 89 Prado Enea. It was quite tight and by rights should have been given several hours in a decanter; I thought it would open in the glass more than it did. We corked the bottle after the first glass and both Vacu-Vinned and refrigerated it. Last night we had the remainder. It was fully open. Brownish purple color. It tasted of Christmas pudding and ash--plummy and slightly stewed with dates and spice. Not bad but not great, and not at all like any Rioja I've had before or Rioja as I expect it to be. This is a second-hand bottle that probably had some storage issues in it's life.



Hi Jenise,

Last summer we drank a bottle of the '89 Muga Prado Enea and I thought it was a real nice wine, so I wonder if your bottle had some heat damage. I dug up my old note to post.

1989 Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea (7/6/2006):

This bottle was purchased last year from a shop in Portland, where the salesman said the bottle was purchased on release and carefully stored. It was in pristine condition with the cork less than 1/8 saturated and a mid neck fill. Dark garnet in color. Initially some light floral scents, crushed brick, and a little bit of wood spices in the nose. The flavors are somewhat restrained at first, then show slightly roasted red plum and other red fruits. The tannins are nearly resolved, but there is a fine sharp acidity. With a few hours the nose becomes fuller with tobacco leaf, light cedar, and a hint of forest mushroom. The flavors also come to life with about 3 hours being open, a very pure, sweet fruit balanced by the freshness of the acidity. This was quite a pleasure to drink, and seems in no danger of dying anytime soon. Well worth the $45 for the experience.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Mike B. » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:50 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I have found some `98 GR from this winery. $30 Cdn. What is the opinion?


Bob, is that the Montecillo? You can find it at the Sherwood Park Costco or the Oliver Liquor Barn (formerly Spirits in Oliver, next to 4th and Vine) for less, about $25. Definitely worth it at that price.

I had some at that recent Montecillo tasting hosted by the winemaker, Maria Martinez-Sierra. Still can't find my notes, though.

I recall we tasted the '98 Gran Riserva and the '02 Crianza, as well as a Riserva, but I don't remember the vintage.

I do, however, remember the '82 Seleccion Especial. Like Otto, I was duly impressed. It was almost orange in colour and I experienced the same bright acidity Otto described. Unfortunately, the liquor store didn't have any in stock.

We also tasted a couple from the Solaz line - two Tempranillo blends, one with Shiraz, one with Cab Sauv, IIRC - but they were mostly forgettable. And yes, it was Shiraz :?: :!:
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:52 am

Well, we are certainly reading some very good notes here and there sure are some varying styles described. I guess terroir, the age of the vines, the blending involved, all make Tempranillo based wines so different! Here is my take on a crianza from Bodegas Real Sitio de Ventosilla, the Prado Rey.

WTN: `01 Prado Rey Crianza, Ribera del Duero.

13%alc, natural cork is good, opened/decanted 2 hrs. 95% tempranillo with a little cab and merlot blended in. 12months Am oak, 3months Fr oak. Tasted recently at a local do downtown where the wine flew off the shelves!

Colour. Dark ruby w. thin purple nuances on the rim, medium intense centre plus.

Nose. Funky, barnyardy, needed time to open out. Bacon very obvious, earthy, red fruits, white pepper. Previous bottle had some coconut.

Palate. Initial entry thoughts are leather, currants, spice, complex. Other bottle seemed more advanced than this one? Tannins integrating well but oak still strong. Good structure, finish has a touch of astringency with plum and cherry. Hint of sediment needs more time for sure. This wine does not have that lushness others have written about (with other wines).

Cost was $27 Cdn.
Food, NY steakwith pan fries.

*******after 24 hrs, not much has changed which is a surprise.Tad more fruit on the finish but thats it!
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Jenise » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:57 pm

Marc, just as I suspected, drat it all. If only my Prado had been anything like yours! Btw, $45 was a great price for that. I paid $75 for this one only a few months later.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:53 pm

You know me, resurrection Bob! Just opened, and think I will decant, the `00 Abrazo Gran Reserva from Carinena. Not really red wine drinking weather for most of you but up here, can`t go wrong! Blend of Carinena, Garnacha and Tempranillo.
Stay tuned forumites.
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Re: Open mike: Help with Tempranillo in all its manifestations

by Ian Sutton » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:06 pm

Coincidentally Rioja for us this weekend. One of those few wine styles where I really don't enjoy them in their youth, but age definitely brings more enjoyment.

1986 Martinez Bujanda Rioja Selección Especial Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (8/6/2011)
On opening looks tired, with noticeable browning at the rim and a colour edging towards mahogany. Aromatically similar over-mature signs with a lack of fruit (coffee perhaps the lead aroma)... yet within half an hour of opening this has really blossomed. On the nose wonderfully floral red fruits now take over from the mocha coffee, allowing that aroma to be a factor adding complexity. On the palate it manages to be soft-textured, yet with a pleasing cut of acidity. Similar flavour profile to the nose with a hint of milk chocolate. Not especially long, yet really charming.
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