After a very solid dinner Saturday night at newcomer Rendezvous in Central Square*, a few friends and I settled down in my living room to watch some television and continue our wine consumption. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to get others involved in my Corkboard Experiment, I broke out bottle #2 and invited my dinner companions to play along. The bottle we selected was the Finca Luzone 2004 Jumilla from Spain.
* Ok, since you asked: I very much enjoyed Rendezvous. Food was spot on. Good wine list and a very helpful Sommelier. The owner was on the floor and diligent about making sure people were having fun, which I think is important in a new venue. My only complaints are that the place is just too loud and it has a slightly cafeteria feel to the lay out. As for my dinner, I started with gnocchi and braised ox tail, which was delicious. I followed that up with a Moroccan-inspired lamb tagine. Great combination of nuts, dried fruits, meat and root vegetables. I'm definitely going back.
Jumilla is located in the southeastern corner of Spain and is known for big, fruity red wines made predominantly from the Monastrell (Mouvedre) grape. This particular wine received an 87 from the Wine Spectator, which noted that is tasted of blackberry, espresso, raisin and minerals.
Our tasting circle didn’t find that level of fruit. Instead, we noted steel, vegetative scents like unripe tomatoes (I wish I could take credit for the tomato call but that was all my fine-nosed buddy, Mike) and an earthiness. The palate was round and smooth with a lot of cedar and other wood. The wine had a nice medium level of tannins and probably would have held its own nicely against food.
For the money ($9.99), it’s hard to argue against this wine. I’d certainly buy it again.
Over the past month or so, I’ve been drinking a lot of Spanish red wine and I’m beginning to notice some common themes, at least to my nose – more vegetable tones than I usually notice in red wines, and a good amount of metal and minerals. After Mike’s “unripe tomato” comment, I’m sure that the power of suggestion will prevail and I'll smell that in every bottle I open. Many of the Spanish wines I’ve had also show very bright, very ripe fruit – things like blackberry and cherry. My favorite thing about these wines is probably the price. The Spanish reds I’ve tasted have routinely been less expensive than what I’d expect to pay for a similar quality American offering. While I certainly hope for prosperity and expansion for the Spanish wineries, I selfishly want them to continue to be just under appreciated enough to keep them affordable.
I’m off for a short vacation starting tomorrow so you’ll just have to wait patiently until I return for more reviews. Please, no tears.
Best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season.