From Spain, with taste
Tempranillo means a lot to me. I have traveled a good deal in Spain, and the grape (and the wine) has never let me down. I’ve enjoyed it with lunch and dinner, and I’ve purchased it by the case. One year, I gave bottles of one of my favorite inexpensive wines (yes, a Tempranillo) as presents to a few dozen lucky individuals (it was the number two pick on this list).
Recently, a friend gave me a bottle to sample that I had never had, the Castell de Raimat Tempranillo. It’s D.O. Costers del Segre, and it has entered my library of Tempranillo selections, because I went out and bought another few bottles of it this past week. (It’s at H-E-B for around $10.) My friend and I decided to go rustic on the evening we opened the Raimat, so we made a meatloaf (veal, beef, and pork) and a simple salad. The wine, in case you are wondering, paired wonderfully with the main course; its nose was raisins and nuts, and it was a bit woody, which elevated the flavor of the meatloaf. It’s fermented in stainless steel tanks, then a portion is put in new and two-year-old oak; the alcohol is at 13.5 percent.
“To get elegance and acidity out of Tempranillo, you need a cool climate,” writes Oz Clarke in Encyclopedia of Grapes. “But to get high sugar levels and the thick skins that give deep color you need heat.” While I would not say that this Raimat is elegant, it is definitely a PaperCity pick, and I have no doubt that you wouldn’t regret buying a few bottles of it and serving it with your own meatloaf (or pizza or hamburgers).