Wife Judy said last night, as we tasted a new Food and Wine magazine wine club offering, “It’s not like the other tempranillos we’ve been trying . . . and liking.”
True. But they’ve all been New World wines. This is our second tasting of a tempranillo from its Spanish homeland, and while we really like how it matures in different soils and climates, this wine sets a benchmark for the others. It’s lush, extravagantly fruity, and versatile — great as an aperitif and with red meat, chicken, and pasta.
That’s remarkable for a wine “from 90 year old vines, whose small, concentrated grapes give it intensity,” as the wine club says in its notes. It should overshadow foods like roast beef with noodles and brussels sprouts baked with craisins and their juice. But last night, Judy’s sibling, Barbara with her husband, Don, put that expectation to rest. The meal was prepared to go with a lovely northern California zinfandel (which was very good) but it also glowed in the company of this “Asterico” tempranillo.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the wine was aged for six months in French barrels — a fresh spin on traditional American oak. And that its creator was Rosa Maria Zarza. known in the Toro region as their premiere female winemaker.
All four at this simple family dinner found the Asterico offering delicious, satisfying, and even — for Judy and me, at least — worth querying www.fwwineclub.com for a way to grab a few more bottles.
This shipment of F&W wines, from nephew/niece Ron and Sherry, had just arrived as I pondered what wine to offer our dinner hosts. I looked them over and decided there was no way we could go wrong with this one. I was right. — Bob Cramer, www.fearlesstaster.com.