Prima Tempranillo, 2007 Toro

Oh, Prima- you’re-so-fine-you-blow-my-mind.  And no, do not insert a “Hey,” because I am rocking out to some old school SWV, not Tony Basil.  Yup, that’s how I roll on Tuesday mornings!  My 90’s R&B playlist simply cannot be beat.

I’ve been looking forward to this one!  One of my all time favorite by the glass pours at Cellar on Greene since we opened.  I feel like I say that a lot… well, you have to trust me- and yes, it’s okay that I have a lot of favorites.  They’re like my children.

Here it is on my desk at home- I actually drank it over the weekend while I watched the finale of The Pacific on HBO.  It’s full name is Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos Prima, 2007.  But it goes by Prima in layman’s terms, or at least in my terms.  Are you ready to be extremely wow’d??  You better be!  Because EVERY recent vintage of this wine has scored 90-points or above from Robert Parker! 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 and 08 (which I haven’t had yet, but would love to get my hands on).  The 07 got a 90.  Are you ready for the best part?  It costs $19!  Yup, you can snag this little guy for under 20 bucks at Cellar on Greene.   Here’s a better look at the label so you can remember what you’re looking for:

This is a plump, sexy wine.  It shows off a little- it knows it’s the shit.  It is ripe, and full of chocolate, dark cherry, blackberry, raspberry, smoke, pencil lead, tobacco and general awesomeness.  It has great acidity and enough tannin to allow it to age several years- if you can wait that long.  I think it’s perfect right now, but then again, I like ’em young.  Toro is a relatively young recognized wine region (DO, in wine-nerdy terms), only founded in 1987 with just four wineries.  Tempranillo (also called tinta de Toro) make up almost 80% of it’s plantings, with small amounts of Garnacha, Cab Sauv, Malvasia (which, to me, sounds more like an illness than a grape) and Verdejo.

Toro produces the kind of wine that can easily rival any top wine region in the world- yes, even the snobby French ones- and the Prima is an absolutely sublime example of what Toro is capable of at a truly ridiculous price!  What I truly prefer about Spanish wines- at least in the American market- is that people actually DRINK them.  I sell Spanish wine hand over fist above French wine at Cellar.  Something about French wine is off-putting to a lot of people.  Anyone out there want to voice an opinion as to why?  I have a few theories, but I don’t want to offend any Francophiles out there.

So I’ll skip the wine nerdiness to finish off the post- SWV is the bomb, people.  90’s female R&B is where it’s at.  Just take a look at these ladies:

Rockin the leather and leopard with a vaguely 80’s graphic floating above them like a halo.  “I’m so into youuu, I don’t know what I’m gonna doooo.”  That’s me singing to Prima.  Except, of course, that I DO know what I’m gonna do!  Sell it, and drink it!  It’ll be by the glass at Cellar for $9 for the foreseeable future, so I hope you’ll come in and try a glass!  Cheers!


Crios Torrontes, 2009 Argentina

A brief apology for my lack of posts the past few weeks.  April was a busy month around Cellar with lots of catering going on, people going on vacation, and a host of other things to keep me occupied.  In particular- I was busy writing an article for May’s edition of undefined magazine! So keep a lookout for it- it’s my first time being published and I’m excited and a little apprehensive.  The theme of the column is “indulgence,” and I think it came out pretty well.

So this week’s pick!  A favorite of mine for years.  Another go-to summer crowd-pleasing wine from a very consistent Argentine producer, Crios- made by female winemaker extroidinaire Susana Balbo.

Susana has a pretty awesome story- after working as a winemaker and consultant for 25 years (among them Bodegas Catena Zapata), she founded, designed, and constructed the Dominio del Plata winery in 1999 with her husband.  The winery puts out several different labels- Ben Marco, Susana Balb0, Nosotros, and finally the Crios line, whose full name is Crios de Susana Balbo- meaning “offspring.”  The Crios wines are intended to be consumed young, as they offer a more lively and fruit-forward characteristic (and an awesome pricetag, to boot!) while her other “high end” offerings are definitely cellar-worthy.

I am partial to wines that are meant to be consumed now.  I like that they defy tradition a bit, challenging the old-world notion that good wine requires patience and reticence.  I have several bottles at my house (no, I don’t have a cellar or even a wine refrigerator, just a wine rack) that I intend to save- but sometimes I look at them and just think, when?  really, WHEN am I going to drink these?  I appreciate wines that carry the philosophy that NOW is the time.  Why wait?  Just do it.  Drink it.

So yes, with summer now poised to rear it’s muggy head, I think you should DRINK this Torrontes!  At $14 a bottle, you really can’t find a better expression of this great little grape.  Exquisitely fragrant, it smells like you’re sitting in the middle of a spring garden in full bloom.  Notes of spices and honey are fully present, too- and at Cellar we collectively decided that we get a distinct “white gummy bear” scent as well.  Everyone knows they are the best gummy bears.  With all that going on, you’d think it was a sweet wine, but in fact it’s a medium-bodied, slightly tangy taste you get, with great acidity and a slight dryness.  Awesome.

Jay Miller from The Wine Advocate gave this vintage a cool 90 points! And remember, it’s only $14 a bottle retail at Cellar.  We’re also pouring it by the glass, so you can cool off with a glass at any point without committing to a bottle.

I promise to get back on the once a week blogging track.  In closing, here is a picture of the first strawberry ripening on my strawberry plant!  Yup, I’ve managed not to kill it yet!

Happy summer, drink wine, eat strawberries!  Cheers!