Storks’ Tower Estate 2011 Tempranillo – Shiraz

Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Y León, Spain
85% Tempranillo, 15% Shiraz, 13.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 12 Sept

StorksTower_2011_TempShirazThe first night this wine was open, even over three hours, it never seemed like it fully aired.  It showed tasty fruit of blueberry, medium purple plum, and tart red raspberry, with a slight funky, herbal component, but always remained sort of hard and acid.

On the second night, the second half (stored in a 375ml bottle and stoppered with little air) was more forward and softer, less acid.  However, it still didn’t seem to show all it had, so I saved a little in the half bottle, but stoppered with a lot of air over it, as a reader once recommended for especially reserved wines: “If you gave the bottle some head room and let it sit over night and it didn’t develop some smoothness and complexity then I doubt it will with more aging.”

The last remaining bit of this wine still needed a while in the glass to smooth and mellow out and become pretty good.  Then it shows full-bodied textured fruit with a nice earthy complexity, still a bit on the acid side.  So… I’d guess it’d be fine to drink now, especially if you do something like put it in a covered decanter at lunchtime to drink with dinner.  Or you could age it in cool and even storage for 5-8 years.


17 thoughts on “Storks’ Tower Estate 2011 Tempranillo – Shiraz

  1. Expat

    I give the description about 90% or more of the weight of the review so perhaps my bringing the “Thumbs Up” designation up is a bit of a pointless exercise. It’s not something I felt was a major problem but I appreciate the different thoughts.

    PW brings up an interesting point about the relativity of the final grade – is it being compared to the wine world in general or on a GO scale? I prefer these wines graded as a GO offering not as an general wine review and I get the impression that is how the reviewers think. Only the absolute best GO wines I’ve had compare equally to the wines I get from my favorite winemakers around here. Of course, those are $40 bottles or higher.

    1. permiesworld

      Same here, Expat. That’s what’s hard for me. I’ve been comparing them to the other offerings there at G.O. Because if someone only shops there, it would be a good gauge. On the other hand, if you think “thumbs up” means this is comparable with “out there” then you might be deceived and then feel you wasted your $. Not always though. The Lunatic Red 2010, IMO was very comparable with what you get “out there” and I know others have come across bottles that they feel the same about. So it’s just hard to gauge. The $4.99 FOUR wine is easily $15 “out there”. Yet some of the recent Pinot Noir that I’ve reviewed that really are $30+ out there, would never sell on another shelf because they are flawed or faulted. So we come to the G.O. conundrum…whether a bargain is a bargain. The initial prices are so much better at GO, so it’s hard to justify comparing them to a $40 bottle at all. On the other hand, 4 or 5 “drinkable” or “thumbs down” and you’ve just spent the money for one nice one elsewhere.

      I agree though, that because of the G.O. “environment”, I will say “this is a thumbs up in that environment” that I completely would say is drinkable from other places. I’m not sure what the answer is.

      Like Lim, I agree that the point system is so irrelevant (except for whether a wine is a bomb). I don’t have the same taste as Robert Parker. So when he loves a wine and scores it high enough to sell for $150+ and up, it leaves me scratching my head and wondering who would pay that for a fruit bomb (just an example).

      I find myself, like the others, reading the descriptions and if they hit my likes, I’ll buy. If they hit my dislikes I won’t. Especially if I understand the reviewer’s tastes compared to my own. However, I still often wonder whether I should personally hit the “thumbs up” or “drinkable” or “total stinker, avoid like the plague” (wish there was that one lol) button when I’m writing a review.

    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Expat, et al. When I started writing here, I felt like (1) only wines that were truly awful would get a Thumbs Down and (2) I’d try to judge without regard to price. However, after a few years now, I now think that the only way to make an evaluation is to compare what you get for what you pay. I’ve certainly given cheap wines Thumbs Up if they were pretty good for $3 to $5, or Thumbs Down if they were not at all worth $9 to $12. In this sense, I would hope that you could use the same scale for what you buy at GO and elsewhere. However, I guess this would mean that, without buying some wine elsewhere, I couldn’t provide good evaluations of GO wine. However, I rarely do these days.

      FWIW, I gave this wine a Thumbs Up because I thought that, with a few years of age, this could become a pretty tasty wine. Whether or not it will have “soul,” I don’t know, and I may have to age a bottle to find out. 🙂

      1. permiesworld

        That’s a really good point to BW….are you getting a value for your $. If you pay $3-5 and it’s worth 3x that, then absolutely. And by worth, I mean, does it taste like it, not it’s actual retail value. I think that the reason that people shop at GO is to get the better things for bargains.

        Have you ever found anything that was age-worthy here? Honest question. I’ve only in the last 18 months or so, shopped there for wine. I’ve tasted some older wine that had aged pretty well. I can’t remember the name but it was a WV Pinot Noir that was a 2007 or 08…not super old but old enough for Pinot. It was nice. But so far, I haven’t tasted anything that I’d age or cellar, so far.

        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Absolutely, although not all that recently. Please see Phelan 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Ravenswood 2005 Old Hill Zinfandel, 2005 Brigantia, Horsley Vineyards 2007 Reserve Syrah Noir, Faiveley 2004 Mercurey, 2005 Divinus de Chateau Bonnet, 2006 Chateau Couhins-Lurton blanc. Most GO wine, it seems like, winds up there because it’s close to its “expiration date,” but there are many reasons, and some of the wine is quite age-worthy or indeed requires it.

          1. jwc

            I’ve got some of the ’05 Phelan Napa Cab Sav in the cellar & also some Burgess ’01 Enveiere that age nicely. Plus the ’01 Le Riche Reserve Cab Sav from South Africa can go another 10 years, but don’t think it will improve…so will be drinking that over the winter. I buy GO wines to consume, mostly weeknight wines, and of course the hunt for that good to great bottle, at a fraction of its original retail price, always gets the blood pumping. As BW & Lim13 have mentioned SB & German Rieslings can age beautifully, so yeah, I suppose the wines are age worthy in some instances. Frankly, aging wine is over rated in my book, some age gracefully, many offerings don’t and are disappointments once the cork is popped. What is fun and interesting, is buying a case of wine, and watching it evolve over 10, 15 perhaps even 20 yrs, and observing all the changes that take place over time.

            1. permiesworld

              Interesting take on in JWC. I agree in many areas. While I do see the value of aging young wines (or in the case of Portugal, so many of the wines only taste balanced after about 5 years, minimum) but the oldest wine I’ve ever consumed was a 2002 Napa Cab. IMO, some of the more recent offerings I’ve had from the same area were better. It was an experience though and one I intend to pursue with some of my recent non-GO purchases.

              I read about that Phelan. I would have snapped it up too. And I agree too, GO is my “we need something that doesn’t need to sit for a minimum of 6 months” place to buy. But since nothing I’ve found yet has been a cellar candidate, I was really curious if anyone else had. Sounds like a good number of you have. That’s positive.

            2. lim13

              Hey! Thanks for pretty much summing up my thoughts on the subject too, JWC. I’ve been cellaring wines for about 40 years now and have had more disappointments than not when uncorking them. Most…certainly not all…wines were never truly designed for long-term ageing, regardless of what the winery or winemaker tell you. And Riesling (more often the German ones) is still my go-to wine for cellaring…not reds. I’ve likely had a few GO wines that will age, but with all the weird stuff that we’ve periodically found in GO wines, I’d prefer to drink them now.

        2. Seedboy

          I have GO wines I bought ten or more years ago. So, yes, I considered them age-worthy at the time, and still do. The Naledi 1999 cabernet, for instance, I bought in the early 2000s. It is South African and was never very fruity, just nice balance and fruit and Stellenbosch herbaciousness. I have a couple of bottles left, they are drinking beautifully. I have a couple of red Burgundies I bought in the sale (2001) that I am in no hurry to drink, and some Guigal Hermitage Blanc 1999 I bought about 2007 that I need to try soon.

      2. Expat

        permiersworld, you pretty much articulate my thoughts and I agree on Parker. His fruit-loving palate and disproportionate influence are both irksome to me.

        BW, I like that philosophical approach to reviews and think it is entirely appropriate. Your reviews are always insightful.

        I don’t know what it is about this particular wine that bugged me so much. I guess I was expecting a little more. Rough edges would have been okay if I thought there was something interesting about it. Then I discovered it was a Bronco wine and that may have prejudiced me. I should have known there was something fishy about it – a Spanish wine with “Shiraz” on the label? I’m not sure what ageing would do to this wine. Maybe smooth it out a little but I didn’t see that as it’s biggest problem. I think with cellaring it might be a slightly smoother, boring wine. Ok, I’ll shut up about it now.

  2. Expat

    I debated this one for weeks and finally broke down and bought it because I like European wines. In a nutshell, this wine has no soul. Nothing terrible about it and it initially seems like it might develop but it has no real character. It made sense when I discovered that this is a Bronco wine – safe and boring. Nothing to add about flavor components because BargainWhine covered it well. Onto a point I’ve been meaning to bring up:

    I need to voice an opinion and I hope people (especially you BargainWhine) don’t find me too critical – I think there has been “grade inflation” with the reviews on the site the last couple months. It seems like I’m often reading reviews that are really mixed on a wine, slightly leaning towards positive, and the wine is given a Thumb’s Up. I have not noticed this limited to any one reviewer but this review happens to be a good example. I think the descriptive review is very accurate and it rightly kept me on the fence. It is a classic “drinkable” and doesn’t come close to earning a Thumb’s Up. To me, Thumb’s Up reviews should be given out more sparingly. Drinkable seems rare on this site lately but it’s a very respectable category. If it’s a style I like and the price point is good I’ll happily buy a drinkable wine. I see “Thumb’s Up” and I’m thinking it might be something I want to stock up on.

    I want to throw this opinion out there to keep this site as useful as possible and I admit I didn’t track the reviews so i have no numbers to back me up – just my overall impression.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Expat and no offense taken by me at least. I myself and probably we collectively go back and forth about this. Does “Drinkable” mean, “It’s a pleasant quaff but nothing too exciting” or does it mean “I can manage to get it down with food” ? Does “Thumbs Up” mean “This is good!” or does it mean “This is an okay buy” ? I think you’re saying that, of late especially, we’ve been leaning toward the latter. While we’ve resisted having a numeric rating system because, as we’ve said and you point out, we want to focus on the qualitative descriptions, maybe we should define our terms a little better and put it on the About Us page. What would you prefer?

    2. permiesworld

      You know, you make a very good point. I’d like to expand this discussion a bit…

      I’ve purchased “thumbs up” wines and intensely disliked them. On the other hand, I’ve purchased a drinkable and loved it.

      I think there are two factors involved here. First is taste and I’m wondering how much taste can be relegated. I know that I absolutely favor CA cabs and yet others love (for example) South African, which I’ve yet to find one I like. So there’s that.

      I might think a wine was thumbs up (or borderline)…like that Lithos I reviewed yesterday. Do I think it’s a top shelf wine? No. Not even close. Do I think it’s interesting, or more interesting than the general cabs that GO has offered in ages? Yes. Where does that fall? Compared with many of my other non-GO wines, it would be drinkable. Compared to GO general offerings, it’s better than drinkable. So does a rating happen because of what’s available at the store?

      Or does it happen compared to the rest of the wines out there? I read a comment thread on here, last night.
      It talked about the quality of wines not being as good as they used to be. I’ve found that to be true myself.

      Or does one rate on a personal opinion of taste, solely?
      I am genuinely curious. Because I agree with the poster Leftbanker in that thread. It’s harder and harder to find something to rave about.

    3. lim13

      I too take no offense at your comments, Expat…and appreciate what you have to say. But personally, in the three years (is it three, BW?) that I’ve been involved with this blog, I think the question of how the wines are rated has been flogged to death. Seems like every so often it resurfaces. And of course this is a subject of much discussion on many wine blogs and in all forms of wine media. I’d be perfectly happy to review what I drink and show no rating whatsoever. Those descriptions alone should indicate what I really found in the bottle. And my perceived tastes and the tastes of each of our readers can (and does) vary a great deal. What I describe may be nothing like what others find. I pay little attention to any of our ratings.


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