Sunday, October 17, 2010
El Chaparral 2006
Five years ago Spanish red wines were a good buy, somewhat rustic and very easy to drink. Then the more is better philosophy seemed to take over and the wines lost their appeal to me. They became over extracted, riper, higher in alcohol and they all began to taste the same. It didn't really matter what the grape variety was, they all began to taste like jams and jellies or cherry infused Dr. Pepper soft drink.
A person at one of the wine stores I've frequented for a number of years pulled me aside last week and said that he had a Spanish red wine that seemed headed back in my direction. The wine was a 2006 El Chaparral old vine Grenache from Vega Sindoa, a wine out of the Navarra region. The alcohol content was only 14% so I brought a bottle home.
Last night there was a large steak on the grill and some sweet potatoes done in the skillet. Time to try the wine. Nice nose of fruit, earth and a dusty wind. The color was bright red and not overly dark. The wine tasted of just ripe strawberries, a few raspberries, and a little bit of earth. It was dry, not syrupy or sweet. The major thing it seemed to have going for it was some restraint. The fruit was ripe but they never pushed it over the top. Good acidity and some nice drying tannins finished off the wine. It seemed less polished, less manipulated and it was a good wine with the steak. Still with 14% alcohol we stopped at two glasses and that was just about right. Nice pairing with the steak, so this is a wine I would drink again. $16.