Los Bayos Mencia Roble 8 Meses 2006

The worst thing about your partner being away on a business trip is simple: you find yourself staring at your cellar unable to decide what to do. Should I drink anything? Surely not – a bottle is entirely too much for one person. All of the good wines you have seem a shame to drink by yourself; everything else you still really want to share no matter how bad it is, if only to get some feedback from a friend before talking much about the wine.I ran by the two least inconvenient wine stores near my office on the way home from work this evening just to see how things are going. It doesn’t look good: no customers, lots of empty shelves, and some immoderate deep discounting is definitely going on. Petaluma chardonnay for US$13? Yes, you can has. Green Point still wines? Only six bucks! It’s crazy.Anyhow! On to tonight’s wine, a cheap Spanish red from Bierzo. I first drank Bierzo wines at a ridiculous dinner club in Madrid, lounging on white pillows with a bunch of friends watching Spaniards dance a quasi-tango to music from an Uruguayan songwriter. This wine is typical: a nearly black red, very youthful, with a rich, fruity, sulphur-camphor nose suggesting simple pleasures, memories of eating too many cherries and getting a tummyache.There’s also an attractive yeastiness here, probably for no reason other than inexpensive winemaking, coupled with a sort of dill pickle, medicinal, clove-y note. My apologies: that sounds kind of gross, but honestly, it’s good. The first thing you notice when you drink some is a full-on tannic assault right up front, unexpected and with a slight prickliness to the after edge of the attack. The midpalate is not as fruity as you’d expect, tending more towards leather (fruit- and otherwise) and spice, with a gentle rolloff at the end into a creamy, cherry-vanilla finish. Lively acidity is also in play, however, so nothing comes off as easy or simple.Ultimately this is a pretty damn good wine for the money: there’s plenty of interest here, far more than (say) critter wines would give you for the same amount of money. Cherries, acidity, spice, full-on tannins that bow out quickly, and a gentle finish make this eminently drinkable, at least for me; add charcuterie or a well-grilled steak and this would really sing.Los Bayos
Price: $7
Closure: Cork

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