Here is a wine that is as bold in color as it is in the rest of its rich and haunting characteristics. This particular vino pours a haughty purple that is only slightly offset by a hue of lavender as it thins toward the rim (research into the Spanish grape varietal reveals that the grape itself brandishes the same deep hues boldly on the vine). Intrigued by its color and the premise for tasting, that being a plate rife with cheeses and cured meats, I sunk my nose into the glass.
Bursting forth from the beautiful, albeit gloomy purple vintage is a whisp of smoke, like pipe tobacco that clings to a well-worn tweed coat. Peppercorn and savory ancho chili lend complexity to the smoke, and contrast is found in the way of dried strawberry that dances with molasses among the backdrop of a mild ethyl alcohol note.
The taste brings a powerful, though balanced presence of smoke to the forefront of the tongue. One can not help but think of moist applewood being added to a barbecue. Tart cherries and molasses along with other dried fruits become the focus of the mid palate and allow the drinker to ponder the complexity of the wine for at least a moment. The finish is a cascade of peppercorn, grain leather, cardamom and tannins that work to make the full bodied wine intensely quaffable.
As I tasted I shook my head in mild disbelief, slowly breathing a “whoa.” Not only did it pair perfectly with the food on the tray in front of me, I longed to drink this vintage with everything from barbecue to fruit salad and beyond. The sun sank lower across the lake and I closed my eyes to dream of spring. I thought to myself, I’ll have to have this wine quite often. At a modest price point of less than $8 a bottle, you may find yourself saying the same.