Grape: Tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano
From the back of the bottle: “Richly flavoured and spicy, this classic Rioja combines ripe plum and dried fruit characters with cinnamon and vanilla. From selected tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano grapes. Aged 24 months in barrels of american and french oak. This wine will continue to improve in the bottle up to ten years from the vintage.”
Firstly I would like break down the grapes varieties one by one because I have only tasted one (that I am aware of) and never blogged about any. Basically I don’t really know anything about them apart from that they all end in the letter ‘o’ and lets face it, that isn’t going to tell me what to expect to smell and taste. So as per my standard default reaction I go straight to Wine Geeks (plural; the ‘s’ is important).
Come on down TEMPRANILLO! It is the most famous varietal in Spain. It ripens early. Takes well to oak. Good at ageing. Can demonstrate dried cherries, spices and black currants flavours and a wide range of earthy components such as dust, tobacco and black olives.
Come on down MAZUELO! Third most planted varietal in Spain. Ripens late. Tannic and acidic. Commonly used as a blend.
Come on down GRACIANO! Once very popular. Produces low yields. Can demonstrate black fruits, red cherries and red plums flavours.
So going back to the description on the back of the bottle they spot on:
Aged in oak – Check
Plum (found in both tempranillo and graciano) – Check
Dried fruit (from the tempranillo) – check
Spice (again, tempranillo) – check
Judging by the order in which the grapes have been listed and comparing the common flavours it would suggest that tempranillo is the dominate varietal in this wine.
But what did I notice when tasting? Well I can assure you that even the most timid wine drinker will pick up on the fact that it is aged in oak, the smell and taste is obvious and a favourite of mine. From looking at its dark burgundy colour and noticing the oak aroma I half expected a reasonable tannin, but though it’s a rich wine it is light on the tannin front. Again, this is something I like, I guess the tannin typically found from the mazuelo grape was not enough to power through. Saying this I did notice a subtle acidic edge which can come from this grape. It is the kind of acidity you get from a freshly picked blackberry, and the fruitiness from this brambley element balanced it nicely.
Spice wise I agree with the bottle, I did get cinnamon, but I also got another spice I was initially struggling to get. At this point I found myself in my kitchen head first in the spice shelf rummaging around and sniffing everything I could find. In the end I hit the jackpot; the winner was cloves. These spices are not my all time fave, but it worked well, so well that me and the other half polished off the bottle and three days later I bought a second one.
This wine it said to age for up to ten years in the bottle and has a 2006 vintage, hopefully I will manage to buy a bottle and not drink it long enough to test this statement.