Wednesday, February 9, 2011

OLD ass Vines

I just uncorked a bottle of Vinas del Cenit Triton 2005, a 100% old vine Tempranillo bottling from the Spanish D.O. Tierra del Vino de Zamora. Now I have heard or knew next to none of this wine or D.O. before this purchase, but I must admit that ever since I stepped foot in the wine store where I work, the bottle drew my attention.

From 100 year old vines of the local Tempranillo clone, Tinto del Toro (I'd assume) this wine Leaps out of the 'Old World', the Zamora region just to the Southeast and slaps me in the face. It's HUGE. Nearly opaque in color, a deep deep crimson, the 2005 vintage tastes young to me. It was aged for 17 months in NEW French Oak barrels, which becomes readily apparent on the nose, but the fruit characteristics, the raisiny character of marmalade and blackberry, port reduction, just barely crawl out of the overwhelming vanilla/cedar/coffee spice brought on by the oak. This wine will age incredibly well, and I got a hot price on it which entices me to grab a few more bottles to throw down for a few more years.

Toro, I've been told, is the historic region in Spain where all of the best bull-fighting animals were/are raised. Quite high in altitude (1970-2460ft, says The World Atlas of Wine) and arid, almost desert-like, the days are HOT, nights COOL, letting the grapes ripen to their ultimate potential during the day while preserving the flavors, sugars, and acidity while they 'sleep'. I'm one for using human terms to describe grapes because I find it much more easy to relate; when describing to me why a ferment smelled funny during the first harvest I worked in a cellar, the winemaker explained to me that the yeasts were 'unhappy', not getting the right nutrients, like as if I was to have bad gas after eating a McDonald's value meal.

Overall, I think for the price, this wine matches all the press it's gotten. 90 Points from WineSpectator, I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5 on my scale. Normal retail for about $30, I got it for $18.99. It's almost too big though. Typical new world beefiness, though this wine would suit some beef jerkey immaculately, a steak, or some chili after a day of breathing. A winter wine for sure. I'm excited to let it air out in the bottle for a day or two and re-visit it. Try it, I'd say. It's definitely one worth the buck, even though it doesn't fit my New Year's resolution of spending strictly on wines that will educate me on the quintessential aspects of traditional regions and terroir.