I’ll confess I’ve been holding this bottle in my cabinet for a couple months, having picked it up during a serious wine sale at my local HEB. At the time, the bottle was $8, but the price has since risen to $14. I had no idea it is normally celebratory the day I dropped it into my shopping cart, but there you go.
In any case, I bought it for the price and the lovely label – I am a sucker for a pretty wine label. I’d also never enjoyed an estate-bottled Tempranillo, whatever that was. Turns out Tempranillo is a classic Spanish grape used primarily in Rioja and Port. Learn something new every day.
So, tonight I opened the bottle to enjoy with a deep-dish pizza from our favorite local joint. And I was not disappointed, far from it.
In the glass, the Crianza is a dark, garnet color, hinting to the color of port, and its fragrance is redolent of blackberries, oak, tobacco, and spices. The first taste is quite a revelation, with the strongest flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and plum balanced with something like nutmeg and cardamom. It finishes on an oaky note with a hint of leather. Quite delicious, and surprisingly complex.
If I had tasted this ahead of time, I might have suggested it as a nice accompaniment with lamb or venison instead of pizza, or perhaps a plate of figs and blue cheese. It should be pretty versatile, so long as you match it with some strong flavors. Enjoy!