This week a Washington state Tempranillo takes on a Rioja Reserva 100% Tempranillo from Catalunya Spain.
The matchup was inspired by the Volta a Catalunya race through the North East regions of Spain that just wrapped up today.
2009 Substance Tempranillo v. 2006 Izadi Reserva Rioja
Tale of the tape
100% Tempranillo from the Mars Hill Vineyard aged in 100% French Oak barrels
Purchased for 19.99 at Esquin
Izadi Rioja Reserva 2006
100% Tempranillo from the Rioja Calificada DOCa aged for 14 months in American Oak barrels
Purchased for 19.99 at Wine World
Round 1. First Opening:
Substance on first opening the nose has character of plum, smoke and pepper with some slight floral overtones. The palate is already featuring dark fruit, pepper smoked meat and a slightly tart cedar spice finish.
The Izadi is showing raspberry, candle wax and a bit of smokey peat bog on the nose with a palate of ripe red fruit, menthol and slightly tart cedar that continues on through the finish.
Round 1 was close and goes to Substance.
Round 2. One hour after Opening:
The Substance is developing some leather and dusty mineral on the nose along with pepper and cedar spice box. The palate is showing some tart cedar and continues to develop rich juicy dark berry character with some black cherry, cedar spice and pepper with nice supporting cedar tannin tartness on the finish.
Izadi is developing dark fruit, black cherry, spice and chocolate on the nose with the palate showing rich dark fruit with cedar spice and chocolate on a solid black cherry foundation. Really rich and lush.
Round 2 is another close one, this time it goes to Izadi
Round 3. One day later
The Substance is showing much lighter on the nose and palate after one day. The nose is light red fruit, huckleberries with a bit of tart cedar. The palate is showing some light raspberry and a bit of citrus while the finish has become rather acidic.
The Izadi has retained its bold character from the day before. There is black currant, cedar spice box and toffee on the nose. With the palate showing similar dark fruit, cedar spice, cinnamon and menthol with the menthol and cinnamon flowing through the finish.
Round 3 goes to Izadi.
Wrap up and over all observations
Another close match. The Substance started out slow and built up a full character as the first night went on. The Izadi opened up much quicker and showed a richer, bolder nose and palate.
The additional age and (I am assuming) time in the barrel was very noticeable in comparing the Izadi to the Substance. Another match that goes to the European challenger. This might be developing into a trend. The message could be - don't mess with our Old World style. Or maybe it is the new kid on the block issuing a warning - Hey old man! Look out here I come...
Final tally: Izadi 2, Substance 1.
I give Izadi an 88 and the Substance an 86. Both were very good to excellent with the Substance taking some time to build up to its fullest character and then fading. The Izadi continued to build a bold character that lasted over night into day number 2 and that stamina and staying power were the keys to the Spanish Luchador's success.