Monday, April 06, 2009

Adding Some Zip to Your Spring Zing

Last week I encouraged everybody to get some zingy Sauvignon Blanc in the house to help you get in the mood for spring. So what about a spring red that's got some zip to go along with it?

In spring, I tend to head for reds made with traditional Spanish grapes like Tempranillo and Grenache. To me, they provide a viticultural bridge between the last of the soups/stews/casseroles and the first of the barbecues.

Of course, Spanish grape varieties are now grown all over the world. I recently had the 2006 Matchbook Tempranillo from California's Dunnigan Hills AVA (suggested retail $14.99; available for $13-$19). This wine contained mostly Tempranillo with some Petite Sirah (14%) and Graciano (9%). At first opening, the aromas were a bit hot with winey, grapey notes. This sensation blew off fairly quickly--the wine has 13.6% alc/vol, so I'm guessing it was simply a tad warm when I served it--and berry and herbaceous notes came forward. It had a marvelous set of flavors, too: tamari sauce, cherries, and chocolate. This was a flavorful, exceptionally savory wine and represented very good QPR.

We had the wine with an Escabèche of Mushrooms served over polenta. This is a vegetarian version of the traditional Spanish dish, which is known for its sharply acidic sauce. It was fantastic with the wine and accentuated the savory qualities of the wine.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

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