Monday, August 25, 2008
Knowing what basket cases the Salamanzar and I are for dry rose, you had to see this coming. We've converted quite a few this year, and the battleground has become more friendly. I'd say half of the people, who we recommend pink wine to, are afraid as opposed to previous years when most of them were. Luckily, we've created an environment of adventurousness and safety in that people can randomly grab a bottle of something that they completely do not recognize, from God knows where, and still know that they'll get home with a great bottle of juice. There's trust between our customers and us, and we love it.
So here it is, from a region that produces almost no rose (Ribera del Duero), from a grape not renowned for good rose (Tempranillo). Like many pretty things from Spain, this one has a very long name.
Bodegas Penalba Lopez - Finca Torremilanos "Monte Castrillo" Ribera del Duero Rosado 2007. How's that for a mouthful?
First off, the color is amazing. It's a pale ruby, but there's definitely sparkles of lavender along the edge. It's a shockingly bright and pure color. Not that the color makes the wine taste any better, but this one has impact! Next, the aromas of cherry and raspberry really leap out of the glass. This is one of those wines where you can smell it from arm's distance while you are pouring or swirling it. Up close the smell has more depth, with guarana. If you've never had guarana (gwa-ra-nah'), it smells kinda like bubblegum, but it's a Brazilian berry that just happens to be loaded with caffein.
In the mouth, the fruit assault continues, but it's not overwhelming or alcoholic in any way. More like waves of fruit and wonderful, dry juiciness. There's the berries, but also orange citrus, and a slight hint of Balsamic on the finish. What I really love about it though is that the tinge of earthiness that Tempranillo is known for is still there, patiently in the background while all of the fruit and color are dancing in front of it. The earthiness is more mineral than anything else, but I do smell a touch of soil. Man! That much fruit, with restraint, while still showing the depth of minerals and earth?!? How can you not love it?
Unfortunately (or is it fortunately), this isn't one of those roses that you can just toss back while talking with friends. It's much too distracting for that. You must keep looking back at it, smelling the deliciousness, catching glimpses of enticement, returning again and again. (Your friends would really be annoyed at you for ignoring them.) You should share this bottle with someone who would also be willing to be take in it's majesty. Together you could enjoy it and behold this wonderful piece of produce, captured in a bottle, halfway around the earth. $15.99.
- Grand Poobah Wine Swami