Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Washington Tempranillo vs. Ribera del Duero

This week features the Vuelta Castilla y Leon.  A world tour stage race in Central Spain, just to the North of Madrid.  This race is a welcome return to a (hopefully) warmer climate and stage racing for the pro cyclists that don't crave the wicked challenge of cold weather, cobblestones and long one day races.

The route for this race rolls through the Ribera del Duero region of Spain.  This week Tempranillo makes a return to the Lucha Vino challenge with a bio-dynamic Spanish challenger stepping into the ring to take on a Washington Tempranillo from the Yakima Valley.

2009 Airfield Estates Tempranillo v. 2009 Vina Sastre Tinto 

Tale of the Tape

2009 Airfield Estates Tempranillo

96% Tempranillo and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Airfield Estates Runway Vineyard in the Yakima Valley

Aged for 11 months in 25% - 35% new oak barrels: 60% French 30% American and 10% Eastern European

Purchased at Esquin for $19.99

2009 Vina Sastre Tinto

100% Tempranillo from biodynamic and organically grown estate fruit.

Aged for 7 months in 2 year old American oak barrels.

Purchased at Esquin for $19.99

Tech Sheet

Round 1. First Opening

Airfield has some sassy swagger with a nose of black berry, clove and spicy sweet pepper.  The palate also has some character of black berries with a sweet tart cracked pepper finish.

Vina Sastre is flexing some biodynamic muscle and showing some respect for Ric "Nature Boy" Flair with a nose of earth, smoke and dark fruit.  The palate is equally dark with black fruit and tart pepper that leads into similar peppery finish.

This match is getting off to an interesting start with both Luchadors showing contrasting styles.  The Vina Sastre takes the points with a display of natural power.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The Airfield is stepping up and bulking up with a nose of dark fruit, pepper and smoke.  The palate is full of dark fruit, plum, pepper and smoke that lingers on to a sweet smoky white pepper finish.

Vina Sastre, the Nature Boy, is sticking to what it does best with a nose featuring dark fruit, smoke and earth.  The palate is dark fruit, tart cracked pepper and a spicy finish.

Airfield is closing the gap, trying to go toe to toe with the Vina Sastre.  At this point the Spanish Luchador from Ribera del Duero is still in charge and takes round 2.

Round 3. One day after Opening

The Airfield has plenty of stamina and is building power into the third round.  The nose is showing black cherry, plum, balck pepper and some light spices.  The palate is similar with black cherry and spicy pepper that lingers on to a tart spicy finish.

Vina Sastre is steady, methodical, tracking down the opponent and showing no signs of weakeness.  The nose continues to build with smoke, black currant, earth and light notes of pepper.  The palate is black fruit with some notes of menthol that leads to a spicy tart pepper finish.

Round 3 is the closest of the match.  The score goes to the judges cards and the result favors Airfield by a thin margin based on its ability to build strength over the entire match. 

Wrap up and over all observations

The final score of this match was 2 to 1 in favor of the Vina Sastre.  Both of these Tempranillos demonstrated some nice style.  That match was relatively even except for the first round.  The Airfield definitely benefited from more time and exposure to air.

I would rate the Airfield an 86 and the Vina Sastre and 87.  Both of these wines are ready to drink right now.

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