This Week’s Wines (Feb. 21)

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was a bit behind on my wine posts. This, however, is the wine list from the most current week of tasting, in which we sipped on some delicious, and some not so delicious, odd reds.  Odd reds include anything that’s not Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Shiraz/Syrah. Here we go!

2009 Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell — Spain

This Monastrell was absolutely delicious and a great way to start off the night. Strawberry, cherry, blackberry, and currant for fruit aromas on the nose, along with pepper, vanilla, and chalk. Similar flavors on the palate with the addition of some fantastic spicy nutmeg and a hint of tabacco. There was so much going on in this wine and it all blended together stupendously. After tasting, I was astonished to discover the wine was only $13! Try this one out if you’re in an adventerous mood!

2009 Montebuena Temprenillo — Rioja, Spain

Super dark with the fruitiness to match…candied apple, blueberry, plum, and boisonberry on the nose, paired with a bit of saltiness and cola. The palate confirmed the aromas and also added a note of truffle, cinnamon, and cedar wood. Full of tannins and a good amount of acidity, but it was all very well balanced.

2008 Vega Montan Mencia — Bierzo, Spain

What’s the theme for the week? Spain makes a lot of strange red wine. This little grape is even lesser known than the previous two, hailing from a very small wine area known as Bierzo, next to the northern border of Portugal. Honestly, all I can remember from this wine was that it was incredibly spicy on the palate and that overwhelmed everything else. My notes tell me there was blackberry and plum aroma on the nose and some currant on the palate. This wine wasn’t for me, but my tasting partner enjoyed it. If you like some spice to your wine, give this one a go.

2008 Dievole Sangiovese Chianti

This crimson-colored Chianti was full of red fruit, both on the nose and the palate. Fresh strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry were prevalent, with cinnamon, licorice, and nutmeg mixing seamlessly. Very refreshing and super acidic, this wine was great as our first deviation from Spanish reds.

2008 Fontsainte De Domaine Carignan

One of the better wines I had during our tasting this week. Dark fruit on the nose, with blueberry being the strongest aroma, followed by both plum and blackberry. On the palate, this wine had a Mediterranean vibe going for it, with basil, pepper, and sage blending on the finish with the aforementioned fruit. Fantastic balance of the aromas and flavors and a long, complex finish made this one a keeper.

2010 Tilia Malbec — Argentina

Not a bad red, although fairly interchangable with just about every other Malbec I’ve ever tasted. Strawberry, blackberry, black cherry, and vanilla accents marked the nose, with added oak on the palate during the finish. Your average Malbec.

Tasting through the odd reds was interesting as I had never ventured very far from the safety of Pinot Noir and Cab Sauv. I’ll definitely be trying some more varieties of the Carignan and Monastrell.

Next week will be our final tasting week, which is dessert wines! Our instructor told us he spent nearly $700 on wine for next week and one of the bakery science students in the class is bringing pie and creme brule, so it’s sure to be a great class period!

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