The Vuelta Espana barely gets Miss Congeniality respect when people talk about the Grand Tours of Cycling. The Tour de France v. the Giro d' Italia v. the Vuelta Espana is like Andre the Giant v. Ric Flair v. Cyndi Lauper.
So, a funny thing happened this year when the Vuelta offered up the best racing of all three Grand Tours. There was excitement, intrigue and plenty of action right down to the final stages of the race. Le Tour and the Giro both wish they had racing as interesting and compelling as the Vuelta. Three cheers for Juan Jose Cobo who won his country's grand tour.
This week Lucha Vino offers up a final tribute to the Vuelta Espana featuring a matchup of Tempranillo temptations. Representing Spain was the 2007 Ercavio Tempranillo roble v. Washington State's 2007 Tildio Tempranillo.
Tale of the Tape
2007 Ercavio Tempranillo Roble
100% Tempranillo aged for tive months in French and American oak barrels.
Purchased from Esquin for $12.99.
2007 Tildio Tempranillo
100% estate grown Tempranillo aged in American and French Oak (50% new).
Purchased at the Winery for $20.
Round 1. First Opening:
You would be hard pressed to confuse the Ercavio for the Man of La Mancha. Perhaps the really old man of La Mancha. It seems like Spain sent out an imposter for the opening round of this match. This Tempranillo was dominated by the essence of sour oak and over ripe prunes and raisins. Something was not right.
The Tildio was showing some brute force right out of the gate. The nose shows currant, black fruit, cedar and light pepper with a slight funky mineral quality. The palate is rich with currants and smoked meats with spicy cracked pepper and a slightly dry finish.
Tildio takes round one while the Ercavio seeks refuge and searches for its walker.
Round 2. One hour after Opening
Tildio comes out of the dressing room ready to lay down the law. The nose is showing some funk along with currant, dark fruit and some espresso bean and spices. The palate is equally complex with currant, black cherry and clove with slightly dry cedar spice box finish and some tobacco leaf.
The Ercavio is still searching for its lost machismo. The character of prunes, figs and raisins continue to dominate. This Luchador is being kicked back to the training center and a fresh Ercavio was retrieved from Esquin to continue the match.
The new / real Ercavio is showing better. The replacement does show some more character and tart cedar tannins along with a bit of cracked pepper.
The Ercavio is still no match for the Tildio Terror. Tildio takes a semi-controversial round 2 with the La Mancha calling for backup.
Round 3. One day later
The Ercavio backup has found some overnight mojo demonstrating a nose that is toasty and dusty with notes of currant, leather and slightly sour mineral tones. The palate is deep, dark fruit with some sweet tart cedar and a cherry bark finish.
The Tildio nose is showing plenty of body with currants, dark fruit, espresso bean, cinnamon and semi-sweet chocolate. The palate is big, dark cherries, cola, coffee and features a tart spicy Asian spice finish.
Ercavio tried to save face, but could not muster enough strength to topple Tildio. Round 3 goes to Tildio for a clean sweep.
Wrap up and over all observations
This match was never really in question. The Tildio Tempranillo took the victory easily. After opening what seems to have been a bad bottle, the Ercavio got back on track after Esquin replaced the original Luchador for me.
Ercavio, the Old Man of La Mancha continued to return days after the match was over evolving and developing. Somewhat confused and delusional the old Luchador wanted to continue fighting. I could not help but notice he was growing more interesting as he shadow boxed and taunted unseen opponents. There may be better days ahead for the Ercavio perhaps, perhaps...
I give the Tildio an 88 and the Ercavio an 82.