90+ Points, Michael Rockich, AppellationsTen
Today we are trying the 2014 Tempranillo Crianza from the well regarded appellation of Rioja in north-central Spain. The producing winery is Finca Nueva (New Estate) of winemaker-proprietor Miguel Ángel de Gregorio. When I made only my first pour I thought I saw a smudge of wine on the label. Wrong. What I had seen was the faint image of a hummingbird which is found on all Finca Nueva labels.
This Dark ruby-purple Tempranillo opens with distinct aromas of red cherries followed on the palate by hints of strawberry jam, hints of fruit candy, spices, and more red cherries. Medium-light in weight, the wine just barely reaches the medium acid and tannin marks. But do let it breathe! After 30 minutes open and in glass the wine appears to gain noticeably in acidity, tannin, and complexity. Not that it was deficient initially, but the oxygen allowed the balance to become notably precise amongst fruit, acid, and tannin. Clearly, aeration from decanting or otherwise improves a wine’s flavor characteristics by permitting volatile constituents from the anaerobic closed bottle environment to disperse. But in this case the acidity, as well as complexity seemed to become correspondingly more apparent. Next day the wine presented as even more enticing, apparently experiencing further enhancement by added oxygenation.
All this is to say that this wine is an outstanding price performer at $15! Considering that fact, and winemaker Miguel calling Finca Nueva’s offerings “fun wines”, I wanted to try his Tempranillo in a very casual setting. So, I decided to pair it with a simple frozen pepperoni and cheese pizza and a side of sautéed button mushrooms. What a big hit! A really perfect match! Despite the reputation for medium acidity, Finca Nueva’s Tempranillo had not only a great affinity for the food, but an enhancing capacity as well. Surely due to the work of winemaker Miguel. At times it’s a “must” to put an intuitive feeling to the test for yourself. My main message is, don’t miss this wine!
Finca Nueva, situated in Rioja Alta, is a follow-on project for high-profile Rioja winemaker Miguel Ángel de Gregorio. He dubs the Estate’s products “fun wines”, as distinguished from his upper tier Finca Allende wines. He means these wines are hedonistic (pleasure seeking) wines, or “now” wines prepared to be consumed right out of the starting gate. Miguel says the wines reflect the region’s styles and categories at pocketbook-sensitive prices better than his well-known Finca Allende wines. Trinchero Family Estates (TFE), The world’s second-largest family-owned winery and the fourth-largest overall, is the exclusive US importer of Finca Nueva.
Tempranillo grapes predominate the blend of this wine along with a dollop or so of the white Viura (called Macabeo in Catalonia). Viura adds a little flowered and citrus character to the wine. Élevage was in French oak, and alcohol scales at 13.5 percent. Tempranillo is the fourth most planted red grape in Spain at about 100,000 acres and 2.5% of all Spanish plantings. It produces low to moderate acid levels, and similarly for tannin. Tempranillo requires attention in viticulture, and winemaking to bring it to fruition. For example, to achieve elegance and acidity with Tempranillo a cool climate is preferred. Yet a warm clime is best to arrive at generous sugar and the deep color that thick skins yield. So, some give and take is needed by skilled producers to arrive at the grapes and wine that possess the specific traits being sought. About $15.
A sample for review.
Photo credit TFE.