Category Archives: Tempranillo / Tinta Roriz

Riaza 2014 Tempranillo “The Outsider”

100% Tempranillo; 14.7% ABV; screw-cap
California, about 1/3 each from three vineyards:
“one from the valley, one from the delta, and the last from the foothills”
$5 (I think) at the Richmond, CA, store. Long gone.

I was intrigued by the vineyard blend in this wine, and there were only positive comments on it during the fall sale, so I got one back then.  I finally opened it recently and was disappointed by my bottle.

On the first night, I found the wine hot, ripe, with rough acid and a tinge of spoiled grape.  After being decanted a couple hours, the red cherry fruit flavors darkened to dark cherry and purple grape, but the wine never became especially more agreeable overall.

The next day, the wine smoothed out and became more complex, showing red / purple cherry, raspberry, orange, stem / wood, but more of the spoiled grape / raisin character.  I moved on to something else.


Goodnow 2015 Tempranillo

California; 13.9% ABV
Vinted and bottled by J. L. Giguiere, Zamora, CA
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 13 Apr

This wine intrigued me for a couple reasons.  First, the back label touts “loads of black fruit,” which is something I like (especially something akin to licorice) but don’t taste in Tempranillo very often.  Second, it appears to be from the same operation that made this interesting and tasty Musqué clone Chardonnay.  After I bought this bottle, a customer said he found it rather young and grapey, but thought it had good stuffing to last for a while.  I agree!

The wine is pretty fresh- and grapey-tasting, but with subtle complexities of dark cherry, red and black raspberries, tobacco, slight prune, and, indeed, blackberry / licorice, finishing with a layer of stemmy / woody tannin that seems to promise further evolution.  I find that a little odd for a wine called “good now,” but so it is.  After a couple hours’ air, the wine has a nice elegance to it, but I expect it will develop well for the next year or two.

The next day, the second half (stored in a 375ml bottle and stoppered with very little air) was softer, with the flavors less delineated and more integrated, still pretty fresh and purple-grapey, but otherwise much the same.  Highly Drinkable.

Lina Santa 2013 red

Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal
35% Aragonez (Tempranillo), 35% Trincadeira (Tinta Amarela), 30% Castelão; 14% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 27 Feb

img_0058So… I bought and opened this expecting it to be like the previous Portuguese reds I’ve tasted: very dry, tannic, ripe but rather acid, and needing 1.5 – 2 hours in a decanter for me to really find it palatable.  Instead, I probably would have believed you if you had told me this was a Tempranillo – Cabernet blend from the Central Coast of California.  I tasted sweet, ripe, red cherry fruit on first pour.  With more time in a decanter, the red fruit darkened and became purplish, much like Cabernet flavors.  The wine seems fully aired after about 90 minutes, with softly textured flavors of sweetly ripe purplish red cherry, dark red / black raspberry / almost blackberry, dusty cinnamon / dried orange peel, with a drying, but not unpleasant, tannic finish.  Although not at all what I had expected, this seems like a pretty good wine for the price, a European wine that I would not recommend to people who prefer European wines, but to those who prefer Californian wines.

The saved, single-glass, screw-cap bottle of this wine was less sweet and fuzzy, more acid (not saying that much in this case), but still with sweetly ripe Cabernet- and somewhat Tempranillo-tasting fruit, and still entertainingly Drinkable.

2012 Castillo Marín

Cariñena, Spain; 13.5% ABV
Purchased for $5.99 at Palo Alto on 1/20/2017

img_9919-1This wine is a 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha from a winery about which I sadly couldn’t find much information. Perhaps my bottle needed a few more days to rest after transport, or perhaps the wine is just still really young, but there are some promising components here that, if they come together, might make this a winner down the road.

The real standout on night 1 was the nose. Black cherry, raspberry, some herbal (as in thyme and rosemary) aspects as well as this almost dark violets floral note that was just fantastic. On the palate though, the wine was really muted, bordering on unpleasant. A bit of raspberry liqueur and some saline acidity, giving way to some tart cherry, cork, and a slightly bitter finish. I gave the wine about 2 hours in the glass, trying it at 30 minute intervals. As time progressed it improved, but only slightly. The nose, however, remained fantastic, even intensifying as the evening went on.

Day 2 was another story. The wine needed about 45 minutes to an hour in the glass, but once it finally opened up, it was wonderful. Blackberries, some subtle vanilla and spice oak notes (from what to me tasted like very nice barrels), more of those mediterranean herbs, all in a wine that was rich, but not too heavy or overdone. The nose, sadly, had simplified. It was still pleasant, but lacked the complexity of the night before.

If everything comes together, this could be really good. At this point though, I’m going to rate this as drinkable, bordering on thumbs up. If you’ve got space to lay a few down, at $5.99 / bottle it might be worth the experiment.

Tridente 2013 Tempranillo

from Spain; likely about 15% ABV (have unfortunately already recycled the bottle)
imported by AW Direct
$7 at the Oakland, CA, store probably late August or early September

tridente_2013_tempranilloLike three other Spanish wines imported by AW Direct that showed up recently, this wine was made in a very American style, but was quite good for the money.

On the night, the wine was still a bit rough and closed even after having been decanted for 2 hours.  It was quite tasty, showing ripe, dark purple / black boysenberry / blackberry fruit with black earth and a tannic finish.  It was quite impressive, but my guess was that it should have been aged for at least a few years, although I bet Expat would love it as is.  🙂

A few days later, the saved single-glass, screwcap bottle still needed an hour in the glass to show smooth boysenberry / black raspberry, complexities of strawberry jam and blueberry, with touches of roses and licorice, still with a slightly biting earthy tannic finish.  Overall, I thought this was an outstanding wine for the price that could be put down to age for a while.  By now, it’s almost certainly gone from Oakland, and I never saw it at Richmond.

“El Vinculo” 2009 Crianza

from Alejandro Fernández; La Mancha DO, Spain
100% Tempranillo; 14.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 2 Sept

elvinculo_2009_crianzaThis wine looked pretty interesting, but my bottle was quite disappointing.  Although with some air, it tasted of softer, tasty ripe fruit of black raspberry / darker red cherry and purple grape, it was marred by a sort of earthy / rubbery funk, especially on the finish.  It has been a while since I’ve had a corked wine, but this matches my recollections of a badly corked wine.  A customer returned a bottle, and wanted me to taste it to see what I thought.  It tasted just like my (likely) corked bottle.  However, G.L.Pease had a bottle that he said was not corked, but was unexciting wine.  Given the higher risks-to-reward on this one, I’m going with Thumbs Down.

VQ 2012 Cuvée VIII red blend

25% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo, 10% Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah
5% Cinsault, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Counoise, 5% Graciano; 14% ABV
from Odisea Wine Company, Napa, CA
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 1 July

VQ_2012_CuveeVIIII was definitely intrigued by this complex sort-of Rhone-style blend, and the not-bad label.  When I looked at the blend, I thought, “Hey, it’s missing Zinfandel!”  It turns out that I think the easiest description of this wine is “Zinfandel,” although with kind of strong acid.

On the first night, the flavors were immediately interesting and quite complex, but the sharp acid overwhelmed the pleasure I found in it.  After 2 – 2.5 hours in a decanter, the acid had mellowed somewhat, and the flavors were still very nice: darker red and purple fruits, with earth, prune, slight herbs, and spice, quite assertively complex.  Still, I hoped the second half would be more mellow.

Indeed, the second half (stored in a 375ml screwcap bottle with very little air) was a bit better.  All the flavors were nicely integrated and tasty, and the acid had calmed down significantly.  However, the acid was still strong enough that I’d probably not get another bottle, even if I were not inclined to get something new to review.  It was fine enough with food, though.

Castell de Raimat 2014 Rosé

Costers del Segre DO, Spain
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Tempranillo; 13% ABV
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 18 May

CastellDeRaimat_2014_RoseI liked this label’s elegant presentation and the wine’s delicate color, and also I remembered a couple Raimat reds that had been pretty good deals.  Probably because my hopes had been high, I thought this wine was pretty good but not great.

The wine did not change much over time, immediately tasting of cantaloupe and red berries, with hints of tangerine and pink grapefruit, when warmed a little yellow fruit, and very little if any wood.  It is pleasantly delicate and acceptably complex, but I found it a bit soft and unstructured for my taste.  It did not stand up to the assertively flavored squid with black bean sauce I made to go with it.

Nexus 2007 Crianza

Ribera del Duero DO, Spain;14% ABV
the 2009 was 100% Tempranillo
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 1 April

Nexus_2007_CrianzaThis wine came in beautiful packaging, and I had very much enjoyed the Viña Arnaiz 2009 Crianza from Ribera del Duero, so this was an immediate buy.  I think it’s very good.

I preferred it after 2.5 – 3 hours in a decanter.  The soft and ripe fruit tastes of dark red / purple cherry, slightly funky, leathery / earthy wood, with complexities of licorice, purple grape, boysenberry, and nutmeg / cinnamon, and acid of black and red raspberry, finishing with felt-like tannins,  It shared the soft red / purple fruit and woody complexity with the Vina Arñaiz, but was more rich and complex.

The next day, the saved single-glass, screwcap bottle was still richly fruity and woody / earthy, more integrated and less overtly complex.  Still delicious.

Pata Negra 2005 Gran Reserva

Valdepeñas DO, Spain
100% Tempranillo; probably about 13% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 31 Dec

PataNegra_2005_GranReservaThe Pata Negra is apparently the type of pig from which Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) is traditionally made.  Valdepeñas DO is “almost completely surrounded by another DO (La Mancha) but is an independent DO due to its long history of producing a distinct style of wine known aloque or clarete which is made by mixing white and red grapes.”  However, this wine is 100% Tempranillo.

I brought this over to San Francisco, decanting it before I left and putting it in the back of the car, estimating it would likely need 60 – 90 minutes of air.  However, on New Years’ Eve, there was quite the backup on the toll plaza getting onto the bridge heading into the city.  So I was sitting stuck in stop and go traffic thinking, “The wine’s been open an hour.  I should really taste it!  The wine’s been open an hour and a half…”  But, actually, the wine was still quite good when I got there, and even some hours later.  My notes are quite vague because I wasn’t thinking too much about it at the time.  As I recall, it tasted of typical Tempranillo tangy darker red cherry, earthy aged complexity of wood / slight cinnamon, with the fruit slowly darkening to tangy purple cherry / plum over time and acquiring a tasty dark herbal note.

A word of caution, though.  The cork was quite dry and broke in two as I was extracting it with my corkscrew.  I was able to dig the corkscrew in again and pull out the last bit, but you should open it with that in mind, either making sure the corkscrew goes all the way through the cork, or using an Ah So two-prong cork extractor, or whatever works best for you.