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!

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja- $8 and 89 points rated? wha??

Delightful.

That is the one word to describe this wine.  It’s just delightful.  I can’t think of one thing not to like about it.  But the best thing TO like about it is that it is EIGHT DOLLARS a bottle!  In the words of Michael Cramer, “are you freaking kidding me?!”  This is why Spain is the reigning King of value! 

I would liken drinking this wine to the feeling you get after purchasing something you really wanted- like a flat screen TV- and getting it for half-off.  The feeling of utmost satisfaction.  The feeling of a job well done.  Except a flat screen TV will not give you a pleasant wine buzz at the end of the day when Christmas is fast approaching and you just want to pull the covers over your head, tap your heels together and be magically transported to the month of January.  If only it were that easy. 

So, yes- I prescribe several bottles of Borsao to cure all your Holiday stress!  I want everyone to love this wine!  This 2008 vintage is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Tempranillo.  It is a vibrant, juicy, firm red… I just reminded myself of some sort of workout video… so I will therefore dub this the Jane Fonda (80’s Jane Fonda) of wine.  Fun, exciting and chipper!  Here she is, ready to entertain you and some friends with her stylish, agile movements…

Okay, so maybe the stylish part is debatable, but Jane is rockin’ those leg warmers pretty well, you must admit!  Oh wait!  Here she is again, ready to do battle with your Holiday Stress!  Mother in law coming to stay for a few days?  No match for Borsao aka Jane Fonda!  Burnt the cookies for your neighbor’s bake sale that starts in 30 minutes?  Borsao, baby!

Alright, I got a little carried away… back to the way the wine actually tastes; ripe cherries, smoke, boysenberries, black pepper, herbs, and floral notes throughout.  For those of you who enjoy Borsao’s Tres Picos Grenache (a favorite around here), this is like a little sister- softer and not as heavy on the leather.  But still packs that nice little spicy punch and acidic backbone to make it DELICIOUS! 

And, in my infinate wisdom, I have a perfect opportunity for you to experience this wine- Tuesday night, December 8th we will be pouring a value Grenache tasting flight all night, which will include the Borsao, Vinos Sin Ley’s G3, and de Fuego Grenache.  And of course, it’s Champagne Tuesday… so you can start with bubbles and then move on to Grenache!  Perfect!

Atteca Old Vines Grenache

Oh, Michael Cramer.  Do you fondly rememeber when I claimed to not like Grenache for the longest time?  And how you used to open bottle after bottle to try to change my mind?  Tres Picos was the turning point- I finally acquiesced and admitted it was pretty rockin’.  Truth it, I liked it long before then, I just thought it was funny to let you keep trying wholeheartedly to change my mind.  Interestingly enough, this Atteca Grenache is imported by the same dude who imports the Tres Picos Grenache.  He certainly knows what he’s doing, because this wine rocks!

Which brings me to the latest installment in my love of reasonably priced Grenache.  Many of the Cellar on Greene/Mr. Friendly’s regulars know about the G3 Grenache and how fantastic it is.  It’s been one of our top selling wines since we opened.  WELL, let me just say… I think the Atteca may have it beat by just a hair.  I know!  It’s a bold statement for those of you who love the G3.  But please, come down to the wine sale on Saturday, try the Atteca for yourself, and let me know what you think!  I’ll be there with bells on, pushing this stuff on you. 

atteca2

Deep purple in color, the word “exotic” definitely comes to mind when I first stick my nose in the glass.  I get a little smokiness, plums, black cherries, a little wood and pencil lead (which doesn’t SOUND particularly appetizing, but it’s one of my favorite things to taste in a wine), and a little bit of mocha and maybe cinnamon.  It would be PERFECT with some kind of grilled meat, or maybe a burger. 

Since it’s becoming somewhat of a trademark, I am trying to think of a celebrity to compare my friend Atteca to… spicy, handsome but not flashy or polished… a little wild, maybe with some “bad boy” attitude (yes, please!)… I’m thinking Benicio del Toro.  He’s pretty hot in that untamed way.  And he’s COOL.  This is a cool wine.  You will look cool drinking it.  I know I do. 

WINE SALE.  SATURDAY.  Be there or be square!  Atteca and I will be waiting for you.  We’ll be selling this somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 or $15 dollas.  It just came in, so I’m not definitive on the price yet.  We hope to see you Saturday!

Las Colinas Garnacha Blanca

Alight, alright.. I guess I shouldn’t be writing about another Spanish white.  You’ve barely gotten the taste of that Martin Codax Albarino out of your tastebuds!  But this little guy is perfection in a glass!  I can’t resist!  Plus, time is of the essence, because you fine readers have a FANTASTIC opportunity to enjoy this wine THIS WEEK at Solstice’s Spanish Wine Dinner on Wednesday night, the 15th!  Plus five other 90-point-plus rated wines, and the Ricky-monster’s cookin, plus the fine company of many of our wonderful wine dinner peeps who have already signed up!

colinas

Allow me a momentary plug for our wine dinners at Solstice, if you will… I know you love food.  I know you love wine.  I know you love food and wine together.  Who doesn’t.  But if you’ve never actually sat down and experienced food and wine that has been paired together by someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s really a different breed altogether.  When a food and a wine really “match”, it’s pretty unbelievable.  I’m not trying to sound corny- it’s, like, scientific or something.  It happened to me with an Italian merlot and a really dark chocolate cake a few years ago.  Although, judgements I make while under the influence of chocolate cake are not always to be trusted… With all that being said, we’d love to have you at the wine dinner on Wednesday!

Moving on!  Las Colinas Garnacha Blanca- ohhh, where shall I begin.  You are just fantastic in every way.  I love you in the mid-afternoon… ahem… I mean the early evening when it’s acceptable to begin drinking.  You have such a nice spicy nose, it almost tickles.  You have notes of flowers, melon, white peach, and a little minerality.  Your mouthfeel is a tad on the round side, and you almost remind me of a Viognier, but not quite as full-bodied.  I heart you, Las Colinas.  For-eva.

In case you’re wondering, (not you, Las Colinas, the readers!) Grenache Blanc is it’s own grape, often overshadowed by it’s red older brother, Grenache Noir.  Much like Casey Affleck.  Ben gets all the attention!  But some of us believe Casey to be equally if not more talented, and quite easy on the eyes, to boot.  Ben is no slouch, but in more of a classic, Cary Grant kind of way.  Casey is attractive in an interesting way.  I like that. Anyone agree with me?

Ricky will be serving this on Wednesday with a Cowasee Farms Melon Salad with spiced almonds, crispy serrano ham, and a herb-tarragon-champagne vinaigrette.  YUM!  Check out the full menu by clicking on “Wine Dinner Menus” (I know, that’s a tough one) at www.solsticekitchen.com/blog.  If you can’t make it to the wine dinner, you can grab a glass of Las Colinas at Cellar on Greene for $7, or take a bottle home for $14!  We hope to see ya soon!

Another summer white… Martin Codax Albarino

martin-codax-albarino

What’s Albarino, you may ask.  Only one of the most crisp and delicious whites EVER!  Very food friendly.  Very hot-weather friendly.  You could just say this is a friendly and pleasant wine. And I suppose I just did.

Albarino is known as a Spanish grape, but is also grown in Portugal- where they spell it Alvarinho, and sometimes put in it Vinho Verde.  It’s known for it’s somewhat intense, distinctive nose- you could say it’s a little eager to get to know you.  The aromas of ripe lemon, green apples and some herby-ness jump out of the glass.  Color-wise, it’s a really bright, almost sparkly yellow, so it definitely gets your attention.  It’s happy to be alive!

I can think of sooo many things that this wine would taste good with- seafood would probably be the best bet.  A seafood bouillabaise, herb-fried or grilled calamari… any kind of nice white fish like grouper or snapper with a white wine & butter sauce… mmm.  Perfect.  You could even get away with a light, light cream sauce with herbs, pasta, shrimp, and whatever else you want to throw in there.  A pungent cheese like Goat or Brie would be nice, too.

It was given 90 points by Wine Enthusiast! Nothing better than an inexpenive 90-point wine, in my book.  I could talk about how good it is ’til I’m blue in the face, but once y’all see that 90pt rating, you’ll be all over it.  I know you will.  We have this wine at Solstice as a feature right now which means you can drink it on a Monday or Tuesday for (gasp!) $16!  Any other night of the week it will cost you $32 a bottle.   UNLESS you read your Solstice email from yesterday and print out the little goodie that’s in it!  *hint hint*

And a quick side note- I was informed the day after my Opala Vinho Verde post that there is some kind of problem with the distributor being out of the country (yawn) and it has not come in on schedule.  My blood boiled just a bit, because I would never want to pump y’all up to try a wine, only to be told you couldn’t have it.  Horrible!  From now on, I will stick with wines that are physically HERE, or I will send you to the Gourmet Shop to see my fellow redhead, Bryan.  Thanks for reading!