Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shot in the Dark

It's mid-week. We're sitting down to a light dinner and a glass of wine. While having a glass of wine in front of me instantly makes the day brighter, I approach it with just a bit of apprehension. I can't help it...and I'm not alone.

Wine enthusiasts everywhere know the feeling well. On the weekends, we tend to eat better and drink well. We reach into our cellars for those wines we know will deliver the character and body that will pair up well with classic dishes, like tenderloin and an estate cab or loin lamb chops and a grand cru Burgundy. They're reliable.

But the middle of the week is a time for lighter meals and lighter wines. Value wines. Often they turn out to be great for the money, and great complements for the mid-week salad meal or omelette. But often they disappoint. They can be just a little too thin, a little too one-dimensional.

There are some reliable low-end wines, but it's fun to try new things. So, I'm always on the lookout for new recommendations, and almost always ready to risk the disappointment. Still, after a long day at the office you want to be elated, not deflated. So, tonight, I raised my glass with a slight bit of uncertainty. I really wanted it to be terrific, but didn't dare expect too much.
I put my nose to the glass -- whoa!

Even when wines under $10 are good they don't tend to be full of surprises, but this was amazing. I got lots of black fruit. A really dark, brooding character with aromas of tobacco, smoke and black licorice. What an eye-opener! It was a Spanish red, the 2004 Tikalo Albaliza.

This extraordinary buy, at about $8, is made from 65% tempranillo and 35% garnacha. Though hailing from an area known for high yields, Bodegas Tikalo managed to pack this wine with dense flavors and intense aromas through strict vineyard management techniques. Interestingly, this wine gets no time in oak. It really is a tribute to what modern winemaking practices can achieve.

Though the wine came recommended by a local wine shop, I still can't help but feel that many of the low-end bottles can be a bit of a shot in the dark. This one hit the bullseye. The only thing I didn't like about it was the plastic cork, but at least my corkscrew survived the encounter.


Blogger Winecentric said...

I'm turning to Spanish wines all the time now. Spain is full of endless value wines. Nice blog. Keep drinking and blogging.


6:39 PM  

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