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CHEESE PAIRING:
Queso Fresco
Boursault
Mahon
Cotija
Manchego
Cabrales
Picon



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This varietal is the workhorse of the Spanish wine industry with its' most famous versions coming from the regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The grape is not widely grown anywhere else in the world except for Portugal, where its' called Tinto Roriz and used mostly for port, and Argentina, where it's grown mostly as a bulk blending grape. It's a flavorful, low-tannin, hearty varietal that ripens early which has attracted the Australians and Californians into giving it a look, though neither area has made anything worthwhile yet. Spanish versions usually have another varietal blended in to give the Tempranillo structure and the ability to age.

In Rioja, they still do that for you (reservas and gran reservas have minimum aging requirements), but they are beginning to be swayed to world tastes and release some of their wines with little or no oak-aging (labelled Crianza or Joven). Depending on the producer and the vintage, these wines have the ability to age, though they don't change much once in the bottle. The wines from the Ribera are fuller-bodied and more complex with prices that are soaring due to the upswing in their reputation. For the most part, Spanish wines deliver some of the best Bang for the Buck, even in the $20-$30 range, so get out there and try them before they cost what they're worth.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The depth and color of a Cab when young (brinck red when aged) with bright, ripe fruit flavors of strawberry, cherry and raspberry. The low tannins produce a soft, supple wine and any oak-aging delivers notes of vanilla, tobacco, plums and cocoa. Depending on the region grown can have additional herbal, earthy or floral aromas. Not an overly complex wine, but one that can be quite flavorful.



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spacer.gif2006 Creta Roble, Ribera del Duero, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Minassian-Young Winery Tempranillo, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Palacios Remondo La Vendimia, Rioja, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Telmo Rodriguez Dehasa Gago G, Toro, SpainRATING: *
spacer.gif2005 Bodegas Arrocal Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Dominio de Eguren Protocolo Tinto, La Mancha, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Mano a Mano Tempranillo, La Mancha, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Cenit Vino de la Tierra, Zamora, SpainRATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Deobriga Selection Familiar, Rioja, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Vina Solorca Zarus Barrica, Ribera del Duero, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Bodegas Aalto, Ribera del Duero, SpainRATING: **
spacer.gif2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza, Rioja, SpainRATING: ***
spacer.gif2001 Marques de Caceras Reserva, Rioja, SpainRATING: ***
spacer.gif2001 Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Reserva, Rioja, SpainRATING: *
spacer.gif1999 Bodegas Navarro-Lopez Old Vines, Valdepenas, SpainRATING: *


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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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