Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Washington Tempranillo v. Catalunya

This past week featured the Volta a Catalunya a 7 stage race in North East Spain.  This time of year the pros are searching for races outside of Belgium so they can race in decent weather.  Unfortunately for the racers this year the weather in Catalunya did not cooperate.  The third stage was set to finish at a ski station in Port Aine'.  The only problem was that the weather was more suited to skiing than bike racing.  The finish line was covered in snow so the stage was shortened and results were not counted toward the General Classification.

Similar to the pro racers, the Lucha Vino matchup encountered some unexpected twists.

First, locating a Tempranillo from Catalunya turned out to be more difficult than the promoters anticipated.

Second, the Tempranillo challenger from Catalunya showed up with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as backups!

Third, after a judges ruling allowed the Tempranillo blend into the ring it went rogue!  The Luchador turned out to have gone bad.  Major disappointment.  The previous bottles from my cellar had been pretty enjoyable.  Discovering that the third bottle had gone bad was a letdown.

Scrambling for a replacement Luchador, the promoters were able to find a Tempranillo from the Penedes DO in Catalunya.

2009 Castillo de Feliciana Tempranillo vs. 2005 Castell del Remei Gotim Bru 2007 Torres Coronas Tempranillo

Tale of the Tape

2009 Castillo de Feliciana Tempranillo

75% Tempranillo from the Rosebud Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope AVA
15% Merlot from Cockburn Vineyard
5% Malbec from Cockburn Vineyard
5% Cabernet Sauvignon from Blue Mountain Vineyard

Aged in 70% Neutral and 30% New Oak Barrels

Purchased for $28.00 at the Poverty Bay Wine Festival.

The original challenger

2005 Castell del Remei Gotim Bru

65% Tempranillo, 20% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aged 10 months in American and French oak.

This Luchador went rogue, whereabouts unknown....

The Replacement
2007 Torres Coronas Tempranillo

86% Tempranillo and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Penedes DO in Catalunya.

Aged for 9 months in French Oak Barrels

Purchased for $11.99 at The Spanish Table


Round 1.  First Opening

The Feliciana Tempranillo is not phased by all the turmoil surrounding the Luchadors from Catalunya.  In fact, she is dancing into the ring like she is ready to do a tap dance of death on her opponent.  The nose is showing dark red cherries, smoke, leather and cedar cigar humidor character.  The palate is dark cherries with some earthy cocoa  and tart sweetness that leads to a dry light pepper finish.

Torres Coronas, our replacement Luchador, comes from a family that boasts over 100 years of experience in the ring!  Let's see how that experience stacks up.  The nose is dark fruit, currant, smoked meats, coffee and chocolate.  The palate is dark fruit some smoke, pepper spice and coffee bean with a tart slightly sweet and nutty finish.

The first round is a close call, but the Feliciana barely edges the Torres on the judges score cards.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Everybody is wondering where this replacement Luchador came from.  It put up a very impressive showing in the first round of our match.

The Feliciana is taking notice and building a strong defense with a nose of dark red fruit, smoke and dusty pepper.  The palate shows dark fruit, smoke, leather and a dry finish featuring some coffee bean and cocoa sneaking in at the end.

The Torres continues to draw on the family pedigree with a nose of dark fruit, currants, smoke and light white pepper.  The palate is dark currants, smoke, pepper and a coffee bean tinged tart finish.

Another close round with the Feliciana barely squeaking by on points again.

Round 3. One day after Opening

The only hope for the Spanish challenger is a knock out.  The other choice is to mount a solid effort and score some points to avoid a total sweep by the Washington Tempranillo.

The Feliciana has developed an interesting style for the final round.  The nose is showing peppermint patty mint chocolate and red fruits with a palate of currant and menthol with a tart spiced finish.

The Torres is building power and looking for the knockout blow.  This Luchador is bigger and badder in round three than the preceding rounds.  The nose is dark currant, coffee and smoky cracked pepper.  The palate is dark cherry and tart cedar Asian spice with a tart dry finish that resolves to cherry and raspberry.

The Torres didn't score a knock out, but it did score enough points to take the final round earning the respect of Feliciana and the judges.

The final score of this match was Feliciana 2 and Torres 1.  The Torres proved to be a valiant warrior.  Thrown in to the ring at the last moment, this Luchador did more than hold its own!

Wrap up and over all observations

This was an interesting match that had plenty of drama before either Luchador even entered the ring.  Both of these wines are classified as Tempranillo even though they contain a healthy amount of other verietals to boost their power.

Both Luchadors proved their ability to boost their power like a street racer hitting the nitrous.   The big difference was staying power.  Both of these Luchadors hit the nitrous and then kept on delivering the goods for days following the match.  I would recommend both of these Wine Fighters with one caveat - if you walk into a dark alley, make sure you have them by your side and not in your face!

I give the Feliciana an 88 and the Torres an 87.

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