Archive for December, 2012

Vecordia 2009 Ribera del Duero Roble

I am super amped to have the second bottle from my recent buying spree be something actually worth writing about.  I don’t normally go for bottles with a kitsch label like this, but the price was right and something about it told me to buy it. Possibly it was the lack of a back label with a panty-dropping description of how the oak and tannins were going to rock my world and that my mouth would explode with toasty peppermint and chocolate and gumdrop apple beans. I don’t know what that is supposed to mean, but I’m going to roll with it. So yeah. None of that. No real description of how it is supposed to taste.

Sexy little Tempernillo

The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the violet color around the edges, and the luscious deep red of the body. Right away I was pretty stoked to suck on this wine.  Without letting the wine sit for too long, I gave the wine a thorough sniff, which revealed some tart and spicy notes.  There is a lot more structure to the nose of this than the Sangiovese from earlier this week. The initial nose is a little hot, as well.

So, let’s take a minute to discuss this Vecordia.  This is a Tempernillo grape aged in oak. The “Roble” on the bottle is Spanish for “Oak”.  The term Roble is also used to indicate that the wine has not been left to age in the oak for long enough to attain the “Crianza” label, or minimum 6 month oak aging (with 18 month bottle aging). Ribera del Duero, a DO region in northern Spain, is known for producing some excellent Tempernillo wines. Notable wineries include Vega Sicilia, Emilio Moro, and Cepa 21. The terroir consists mainly of silt and clay sand, layered with chalk, marl — a lime-rich mud — and limestone.

Boom. Now that you skipped that paragraph, I’m ready to taste this bad boy. Swish, swirl, aerate… And we have a winner! The tannic structure is good, even without letting the wine breathe (though I recommend you do let it breathe for about 10 minutes). These initial notes are tart blueberry, spice, and pepper. This wine is definitely medium-bodied with a great mouthfeel. The finish was lingering and tannic with a bit of fruit.

After it spent some time opening up, the harsh initial nose disappeared to leave a thick, sweet cherry smell (NOT overwhelming).  This note rang true in the taste, as well, with currant and blackberry coming through to accompany the sweet cherry.

I really liked this wine. Overall it’s well-structured and has the proper mixture of sweet red fruits and tannin-y goodness. I’d give it a solid 88-89.

Extra reading:

Interpreting the Spanish Wine Label

 Wikipedia entry on Ribera del Duero

Il Ginepro 2010 Sangiovese

I’m not in the business of reviewing shitty wine. It’s just a hobby I like to partake in from time-to-time. Last night accidentally became one of those times.

I went on a wine buying spree last night, determined to create some more content for this long-stagnant blog. The mix was pretty good: several Côtes du Rhones, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Rioja, Malbec. The Sangiovese was lauded as “pretty good” and “drinkable”. “Hints of anise and spice” were also listed on the little card that sold this bottle to me as a value-driven wine. Well, folks, I am here to tell you I plan on defacing that card.

Il Ginepro 2010 Sangiovese

The Culprit

The wine poured well, it looked good. No rust color on the edges, slight violet color, but mostly red. There was no heat on the nose, and it smelled of vanilla, tobacco, and spice. I was extremely excited by this wine! In addition to those notes, it smelled a little gritty. There was a heft to the nose.

Then I made the mistake of putting the wine in my mouth. At first there was no real taste, which confused me immensely. I’m not used to that. Usually wine either tastes good, or it tastes bad. This didn’t have a taste. The tannin stuck to my tongue and just sort of sat there. The finish was bland and quick. And then I realized that this wine was incredibly sweet. A sweetness that my taste buds outright rejected. And that tannin wasn’t really tannin, it was more of a sweet residue on my tongue, destroying my palate.

Here’s the truly disheartening thing: there is indeed some anise in the mouth, and this IS a medium bodied wine. Nothing that the card said was false, in fact. Tobacco, vanilla, spice, grit. But in the least complex, most poorly structured wine I’ve ever had. I don’t think this is expressive of the Sangiovese grape at all.  I understand that Sangiovese has traditionally been part of a blend due to its harsh acidity, but there’s no reason for this sweet hot mess.

Bottom Line: Undrinkable. Not a value. The card was not a liar, but it did not tell the whole truth.