Friday, December 28, 2012

Battle in Seattle II:Washington v. Rioja

This is the second installment in my End of the World Battle in Seattle series.  The battles were interrupted as my world almost ended on 12/12/12 when a car hit me riding my bike to work.  I'm really lucky to have "only" sustained a cracked rib along with some cuts.  The worst issue is a disk pressing on a nerve in my back.  That nerve pain is like nothing I have ever felt and hope to never experience again once I recover.

In this week's match a Washington Tempranillo works on bringing the pain down on a Spanish challenger from Rioja.

2009 Bartholomew Tempranillo v. 2007 Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva

Tale of the Tape

2009 Bartholomew Tempranillo

100% Tempranillo from Snipes Mountain Upland Vineyard

Purchased at the winery for $30.00

2007 Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva

100% Estate Tempranillo

Aged for 24 months in French and American Oak barrels with an additional 24 months of bottle aging before release.

Purchased from for $14.99.

Round 1. First opening

Bartholomew is ready to brawl!  The nose is earthy with dark berry, cherry, spice and candle wax.  The palate is equally dynamic with plenty of dark cherry along with cinnamon and clove spices that carry over to the finish with some coffee bean tartness thrown in to the mix.

Vina Eguia has a bounce in its step, floating around the ring looking for opportunities to counter attack.  The nose is showing character of bing cherry and bright light spices.  The palate is juicy with notes of cherry, earthy brambles and leather that lead to a tart cedar finish.

Two different styles going head to head with Bartholomew using a headlock to subdue Eguia and take the round.

Round 2. One hour after opening

Bartholomew is bulking up and striking a pose in the middle of the ring with a nose featuring dark currant, black cherry and rich spices.  The palate is also bold with black cherry, coffee and clove spices that linger to a tart spiced finish.

Eguia is holding its own with a nose beginning to show some savory notes along with cherry and coffee bean.  The palate is showing cherry and earthy spices with a tart light spicy finish.  The Rioja challenger took the larger Washington Luchador by surprise scoring more points and taking the round with a variety of spinning kicks and judo chops.

Round 3. One day after opening

Bartholomew is dark and brooding and showing some stamina with a nose featuring dark cherry, menthol spice and brambles.  The palate has character of dark cherry, coffee and clove spices leading to a tart spicy finish.

Eguia is not intimidated and appears to be looking for a new way to spice things up.  The nose is getting a bit funky with notes of dark cherry and earthy spicy tobacco leaf.  The palate is full of cherry tartness and spicy tobacco leaf with notes of cherry bark dominating the finish.

Despite Eguia's efforts to throw some spiciness into the mix, Bartholomew was able to corner the nimble challenger from Rioja winning the match by executing a devastating sleeper hold.

Wrap up and overall observations

The Bartholomew Tempranillo was an extremely robust and bold Luchador while the Eguia challenger from Rioja countered with dexterity and agility.  This match was close and an interesting study in different styles.  Ultimately the Bartholomew brawler took the match, winning by a score of 2-1 by applying the diabolical sleeper hold to finish off the Vina Uguia.

Both of these wines were top notch.  I would rate them as excellent in the 88-89 range.  The Vina Uguia is a great bargain at a mere 15 bucks!

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