Monday, November 13, 2017

Issue LVI: Ergo Rioja Edition



Ergo Rioja [Blend]

Another entry from Spain and again predominantly with that very tasty grape the region at least holds some degree of notoriety for, we have another strong entry into the field. Coming from Martin Codax, this thing does a very nice job of balance…as long as you give it some air time. Not doing so will bring the folly of that particular play into very sharp and somewhat quick relief. This is one is, shall we say, a bit on the drier side of things.

We have a decent job of hitting some of the berry notes and once it settles down, there is a nice degree of astringency as an undercurrent. This is not a straight Tempranillo and it is probably the Garnacha which lends that degree of bite to it, though there is not any great amount of it there. Basically, enough to make its presence felt but precious little more. Having the Tempranillo as the star of the show is the smart move there and definitely the way to go.

I find this one to be particularly pleasant in the mouth. It’s not like some others, which will easily pass the Marissa Ross test, but this is a good one to settle in and relax with and that’s more what I want, a nice easy sipping wine…naturally. This one fits the bill here particularly well and gives a greater degree of understanding to why Spanish wine was all the rage there for a hot minute. Tempranillo is also one of those grapes I find highly favorable and this one was a good representation of how tasty they can be.

I picked this one up on a random change, I think mostly because it had a shiny “NEW” tag tied on the shelf to it at the LIQ, but in this case, it paid off spectacularly. This is a highly enjoyable wine, though because it’s new, I’ve not yet seen it on SPA (getting Spanish wines on SPA in Utah is a pretty mixed bag) and I can’t think offhand of any Spanish wines [just double-checked, as of this writing, April of 2016, none] that are Standards and this won’t change that, so we wind up with another Mixed.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Issue LV: Menage A Trois Silk Edition



Menage A Trois Silk [Blend]

For a wine whose core product has always been something of a smooth nature to begin with, to come out with something smoother instantly invokes images of something dreamier and luscious…which also already sort of describes the main wine. Still, nothing exceeds like excess, one supposes and perhaps this one will be different from a lot of the other blends that seem nothing so much as ways to move more bottles…of course, by now you undoubtedly know to expect more from this column, so that this wine is showing up here should give a strong indication that they have created something worthy here…definitely this is one of the wineries that I hold a certain amount of trust for and probably drink more of this than any other single name on the list.

So, with my frank feeling going in that this was an unnecessary wine, sort of like their MAT Midnight (which will not be appearing in this list), it had a lot of ground to make up, but to its credit, it did just that. The blend here is Malbec, Petite Syrah and Pinot Noir, with the largest percentage from the last grape, so definitely a good capacity here for smoothness, without question. The Pinot Noir can be temperamental, though, so some skill definitely would come into play and that blend is somewhat unusual, given those players.

Happily, it all meshes together pretty nicely. This is a lighter, poppier version, in some respects, even as far as color, of the flagship blend and while I wouldn’t say it improves on the original (be very hard to do that), it does do a respectable job of holding its own. I think more than any other word, “elegant” comes to mind to describe this, which at least does somewhat connotate that one will find it in more favor, depending on mood, but it’s good to have wines to fit that need. As much as I expected it, they wisely did not lean much on the sweet side here, but elements of cherry and raspberry make their presence known on the tongue. All in all, this is a very enjoyable wine.

To be honest, though, given how much I like the original, I probably wouldn’t look to this unless I was either in one of those rare moods at the same time I was in a wine store or liquor outlet or unless they were out of the main wine. I’ve never seen it on SPA and it doesn’t qualify for a Standard, so Mixed it is, though admittedly, a very strong Mixed…

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Issue LIV: Big Red Monster Edition



Big Red Monster Edition



There’s a lot of noise about the re-design of the bottle. Sure, I will buy a wine because I like a bottle or the design of the label on the bottle or whatever, but I won’t buy it again, unless I really like the actual wine that’s in the bottle. In this case, I like this wine considerably. It is a fruity wine, decently balanced, not a lot of bite to it, but not particularly smooth, either. It tastes “big” and bold, along the lines of a Cab, but much more appealing and that’s probably due to the blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah that comprise this blend.

This is a deep, dark red wine and the color seems to tie in well with the mystery of its respective origins. Most of that won’t matter greatly in a blend as long as it strikes the right notes. This one could use a bit more balance, but is very drinkable and is good for hanging out and sipping while watching shows, for instance, my particular main use of it.

There is no great complexity, especially here, but it does do better with a bit of air time, say 15 – 30 minutes. It would probably be at least acceptable out of the gate though a lot of the rough elements vanish pretty rapidly, so giving it at least some time out of the bottle before drinking will yield best results. 

As enjoyable as this was, there are much stronger entries on the list and this surpasses none of those in my regular current rotation, so it’s not quite up to a new Standard. I don’t recall seeing in on SPA ever, either, so thus, it comes in as a Mixed.