TN: Some Tempranillo at Cooking School


Yesterday, nine of us met up at the local cooking school for lunch. These lunches are a weekly thing where the culinary students are responsible (as part of their grade) for the menu, the preparation and the service. It is a BYO event and so we have a loose group that has a wine theme set and whoever is interested shows up with a bottle. Usually we have between 8 and 12 people. Yesterday was Tempranillo. Interestingly, we had a wide selection but nothing from Rioja. We had Spain (Toro, and Ribera del Deuro), California, Washington and even Texas. Some times it works out that way. The wines are loosely put into flights to match the food. Everyone is given two choices for each course and orders. The food comes a bit faster than we would like (especially yesterday) and sometimes that is a problem as we would like to really take our time and enjoy the wines more. But that is not why the lunch is being offered. Most attendees, have one bottle for the entire meal. We are a bit different. The wines are pop and pour today. There isn’t much time to revisit unless one takes a bottle home for the evening. As for the food, yesterday was a cooking theme of breakfast styled foods. (My wife and I get a vegetarian accommodation).
With Mini Bagels and Vegetable Cream Cheese, and English Muffins and Tomato and Onion Jam.

  • 1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon - France, Champagne
    Its been a while since I have had this vintage. Medium deep golden with a tinge of green in color. Still some nice effervescence though in an open glass the bubble expire quickly. Great nose. Mature. Slight lemon, bit of ginger and minerals and a slight mushroom note. Very nice. On the palate, very deep. Complex. Not a lot of fruit, more about minerality. A bit of ginger and lemon. Seemed to improve for a short time with air though. Held up for a glass later in the evening just fine. A nice treat. (94 pts.)

With Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

  • 2012 Lewis Wines Tempranillo Lost Draw Vineyard - USA, Texas, Texas High Plains
    Starting off with a wine from Texas. How interesting is that? Ruby in color, flat and cloudy. On the palate, clay, sour cherries, slight cough lozenge, and with air a slight herbal note. Its nice. On the palate, cherries and spice. My wife described it as a Christmas Ale styled wine and that has some merit to it. Add some cherries and that’s pretty close. Some heat on the finish. Everyone seemed to like it although it did get the “for a Texas wine” qualifier. It didn’t need to be qualified a very good wine and unique expression of Tempranillo. (89 pts.)

With Chilled Blueberry Gazpacho with Goat Cheese, Mint and Candied Orange

  • 1999 Bodega Numanthia Toro Numanthia - Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
    Purple in color, ruby at the rim, with some browning. Nice nose with cherries and a slight citrus note. On the palate, this drinks as a more traditional old Rioja (I know it is from Toro). Cherries, dried cherries, slight drying/tobacco taste. The tannins are mostly resolved and there is little sign of oak. IIRC, these were oak bombs in their youth. I think slightly past peak but this should have at least 5 more years for good bottles. Nice showing. Would work well at the dinner table now. (90 pts.)
  • 2001 Castilla Leon Toro Liberalia Enological 5 Cinco - Spain, Castilla y León, Toro
    Another older Toro. Purple/brown in color, ruby at the rim. The nose is pretty quiet. With some air, it shows dusty cherries. Better on the palate. More traditional as well. Cherries and dried cherries with a bit of dust. No tannins to speak of. The wine seems to be fading a bit and the fresher cherries are on the attack and not the finish. Seemed very food friendly with decent acidity. Still, plenty of time left to enjoy this with a meal. (90 pts.)

With Chilled Melon Salad

  • 2008 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    Purple/black in color. The nose has a heaping helping of what the French call Merde. Not sure how that is stated in Spanish. Once you get past that on the nose, its all about the oak. There is, however, some great fruit past all that. Black raspberries and dark cherries. On the palate, it seems much cleaner and fresher. Still a lot of oak. Firm tannins. But some really pure and delicious black cherry fruit. Nice texture. Seems balanced under all that. I think a few more years in the cellar will integrate this nicely. I worry about the brett though. A divisive wine I think. (90 pts.)
  • 2009 Bodegas y Viñedos Alnardo Ribera del Duero Psi - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    I seemed to like this more than most. Perhaps after some earlier older wines or an oaky wine, this just seemed light and fresh to me. Inky purple in color. The nose has black raspberries, dark cherries and a bit of oak. On the palate, a nice acidity which worked well with the food. Big black raspberry fruit but not over powering. Nice finish. A glass later in the evening proved better as the wine opened and developed. (92 pts.)

WIth a “BLT” sandwich

  • 2009 Epoch Estate Wines Tempranillo Paderewski Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Purple/ruby in color. The nose is very nice with black cherries, cherries, some spice, and some chocolate. Very nice lush texture. Good acidity. On the palate, lots of chocolate covered cherries. Medium tannins. A glass later in the evening was significantly deeper and more complex. I think this is getting to be just about at peak now but will remain here for a while. There is still some oak showing but the tannins are manageable. The fruit is delicious. Certainly worth checking in on depending how you like these wines. (93 pts.)
  • 2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero P.S. - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
    I really liked this wine but its future is ahead of it. I tend to think these wines need 15 years at least from vintage especially in a great vintage. The nose has a diet cherry coke quality to it. Also some black raspberries and spice. This is a big, serious wine. On the palate, there are firm tannins. Some vanilla and black cherries. Ripe fruit. Deep but hard to delineate. I tried to keep some in the glass but it never really shows all it offers. Nevertheless, with some food, it works well and provides a lot of pleasure today (if the complexity must wait a few years). (94 pts.)

With Cocoa Cereal Milk Panna Cotta

  • 2012 Cayuse Tempranillo Impulsivo En Chamberlin Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    I probably scored this too low and perhaps if I had more time, I would have upped it a point or two. I had expectations about a Washington Tempranillo or one from Cayuse. This wine was nothing like either of those expectations. Purple/ruby in color. Great nose. Spice, chocolate covers cherries, minerals and a floral note. On the palate, this is very accessible. Deep yet elegant. Black cherry fruit with already a nice complexity. Mild tannins. Great balance. Long finish. Worked well with my savory main course and into my dessert. WOTN. (96 pts.)
  • 2013 Booker Vineyard Tempranillo - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Purple in color. The nose is deep with leather and dark cherries. On the palate, this is big. Firm tannins. Plenty of vanilla/oak. Delicious right now if one dimensional. Of course, it is quite young. Some heat on the finish. This wine is ripe and slightly sweet yet it is also quite tight right now. Despite that, it is quite delicious. Worked well with my dessert. I would hold these for a few years. Ymmv. (93 pts.)

Always a lot of fun. Thanks to Charlie for organizing.
Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks Loren, looks like you gang had some fun as always. I have enjoyed the 01 and 04 Aalto in the past. That Cayuse sure sounds interesting! And fun to see that you tried a Numanthia with some age on it. Good notes.

All best,