To tell the truth, I am a little intimidated by Spanish wines. It goes back to that tendency that I have of staying in my comfort zone – which I my main motivation to get out and try new wines! But when I think of Spanish wines, the first thing that comes to mind is Sangria. I know that is ridiculous, but if you’ve had as many bad Sangria’s as I have, you can relate! So, when a Tempranillo was recommended to me by my favorite wine store, I just told them to add it to the box and did not think much of it….until I got home.
I have been staring at this bottle for a couple weeks. Printed across the front says “OAK BARREL MATURED”. Oh man…it’s not just oak barrel aged, it’s matured! If you didn’t like “oaky” before, well this one is “oaky” matured. And I’m even more confused that it’s a 2007. Most of our best wines in our collection do not even date back to 2007.
So, with all this confusion, that means one thing: I need to do some research. Spanish wines are organized into four age categories: Vino Joven (red wines aged under 15 months with no oak aging), Crianza (red wines aged for two years including six months in cask), Reserva (red wines aged three years including one year in cask), and Gran Reserva (red wines aged five years including 18 months in cask). This particular wine I was tasting was a Reserva. Because of these classifications, Spanish wines are typically aged longer before hitting the shelf and are considered more “drinkable” when purchased.
As for the warning label stamped across the front stating “oak matured” (I’m only kidding about the warning label, but anything to the extreme is a bit of a warning for me), this is simply a different aging process. This wine in particular was produced and fermented in stainless steel tanks and then matured in oak barrels. This tends to give a softer, milder oak finish – not the overpowering oak I was so concerned about.
As for the full experience, here it is: The Anciano Reserva 2007 Tempranillo from Valdapenas has a beautiful deep red color with a jewel that was an absolute necessity to capture in a photo (which I’ll say, with my minimal photography skills, does not do it justice). Though the smell of oak was predominant, it was not overpowering and was complimented with the sweetness of vanilla. As for the taste, the wine was dry, medium-bodied, a subtle oak taste and hints of plum. This wine would be excellent with company as it is very smooth, almost resembling a blend, and would definitely appeal to many different palates. I purchased this Tempranillo at The Wine Gallery and Gourmet, in Colorado Springs for $10 as part of their 6 bottles for $60 deal. I gave this wine a four out of five corks rating.
If you are participating in the 52 Weeks of Wine series, I look forward to seeing your photos and hearing your tasting notes from your Tempranillo. Feel free to share on grapejuicemom.com or any of my social media feeds! Don’t forget to tag me and add the hashtags #52WeeksOfWine and #GrapeJuiceMom.
As for the 52 Weeks of Wine series, I am excited that I now have a “Training Group” for this wine palate “training program”. As a runner, I equate this to any running groups or teams I have been part of: you challenge each other to strengthen your weaknesses, have the moral support to push harder when you want to go back into your comfort zone, and you are thankful to have each other after a rigorous exercise. Okay…so drinking wine isn’t such a rigorous exercise, but it’s sort of fun to imagine that we’re doing this for some epic outcome and competition. We’re all in this together to break out of our comfort zones and train our palates to be the best wine consumers we can be! Maybe we need to get t-shirts made…