From where I sit, Tempranillo is neatly slotting into the role of “alternative red varietal of choice at $25 and under.” Catchy, no?
And as I contemplate an alternate career in marketing, I will note some impressions of this Chapel Hill Tempranillo. It hails from the McLaren Vale, which has churned out a few good examples of this varietal lately. There’s something about the seemingly inevitable generosity of this region’s reds that gives Tempranillo some flesh to hang on its muscle and angles. Is this Tempranillo-lite, in the manner of a lot of early Australian Sangiovese? Perhaps, but this tastes right to me in a way a plump version of Chianti never did.
The aroma is dark and dusty, with the sort of spice profile and sense of snapped twig that I strongly associate with the grape. It’s varietal, then, if cuddly as well. What’s especially nice about the way this smells is that it’s challenging enough to separate it from a vast number of zero friction red wines at this price point. Given the difficulties of the vintage, I’m pretty impressed with how resolved this smells.
The palate also shows an interplay of flesh and fundamentally angular flavour. It’s dark and earthy, with savoury fruit taking a back seat to roasted spice and what I can only describe as tanbark. It’s a very difficult flavour profile to put into words, but what’s more significant to me is how it is such a great food wine. Indeed, I’m tucking into a lamb shank as I type, and the wine’s self-effacing structure and underplayed complexity help it fill the accompanist’s role with aplomb.
How nice to find a wine that isn’t intent on taking centre stage.