Monday, May 14, 2007
When I tasted the Conde De Valdemar, 2001 Reserva Rioja from Spain... I thought I was drinking Pinot Noir. It's spicy and smoky, it's leathery, it's a little dusty, (and after it opens up, some sour cherry) with light-to-medium mouthfeel. The wine is smooth and pretty but can pack a punch coming in at 13.5% alcohol, which is fairly substantial for a European wine.
This wine is made of the Tempranillo grape (85%), and 15% Mazuelo (a.k.a: Carignan). The Spaniards named the grape Tempranillo (i.e., "temprano" meaning "early") because the Tempranillo grapes used to ripen several weeks before the other varietals.
This wine sells for approx. $16, and to me seems well worth it. I've had pinot noir that cost twice as much but gave me half the experience. If you like hearty pinots and you like to explore, this is a good route for you.