Monday, August 17, 2009

Lagranja 360 Tempranillo Carinena Spain


You can grab this for 4$ right now at TJ's. Screw-cap. I have to say, I like the label. There's nothing like a whimsical flying pig to brighten up your day. This wine is much better than the other 4$ wines that I have had recently from Trader Joes. There's something going on, and it's nicely drinkable. Tart red fruit (tending towards raspberry or a bit of plum), some earth, and some herbal notes. Enough tannin to stand up to something and enough acids to balance. Day two, it picks up some chocolatey-licorice character. Quite nice at 4$. B

We also had some friends over for lunch yesterday (herb-roasted pork tenderloin with first of the season chanterelles, roasted fingerlings, a tomato salad, and a bunch of fresh figs wrapped in prosciutto with blue cheese in the middle), and they brought a couple of bottles--2007 Cuvaison Chardonnay Carneros and 2007 Montgras Quatro, from Chile.

The Cuvaison was quite nice and went really well with the chanterelles. Spicy pears, and quite a bit of weight for a Chardonnay, but hey, it's Napa. Oaky...but it mellows with time in the glass. I feel almost sheepish since I love to rail against California, but I enjoyed this bottle. I don't know that I would buy it again, or that I would buy it unprovoked, but it's pretty good. 16$ at K&L. B+

The Montgras is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carmenere, and Syrah. Lots of oak here too...curranty fruit and herbal notes (other reviews say capsicum and leather, which I think is quite accurate). This was okay, but too oaky. Around 15$, which I think is a bit much. Perhaps this wine is a bit young. It seemed a bit on the austere side, but I imagine that this would probably show better in a couple of years. As an aside, I have had some other fruit bombs that were a lot nicer from Chile. They don't need all the oak...C

5 comments:

Cuvaison said...

We truly appreciate your honest opinion! Glad you had the opportunity to try our 07 Chardonnay!

Jeff said...

It's always good to try things that you think that you're not going to like. When you think you know everything, that's probably the point at which you really know nothing at all...

Your wine reminded me that just because it's Chardonnay from Napa doesn't mean that it can't be good, and I honestly was quite delighted by the wine. To be fair, this wine was toeing a fine line...and is on the correct side of the line. A lot of Napa is on the wrong side...

CabFrancoPhile said...

Interesting, I also had a Napa and a Chilean wine this weekend. I'll be blogging 'em up soon.

The Quatro sounds interesting, in theory, oak aside. Chile generally seems to have this odd mix of Old World and New to me. Lots of oak, no funky Brett, but the better wines seem to get a nice mix of fruit and herbal nuances (the worse ones drink like Halls menthol-lyptus juice) and aren't too fruit bomby. It would be interesting if wines from smaller Chilean producers were available. You only really see wine from producers who make like 100k+ cases per year.

Jeff said...

The oak is a bit much...I think the Quatro would have been a lot nicer without it. Or maybe not? I don't know...I don't know shit about making wine, but the wine seemed to have good fruit and nice herbal flavors. It was pretty old world in a sense, and since it wasn't a complete fruit bomb, the oak was just overdone and far too prevalent. I haven't had much from Chile, but every time I get something like the Quatro it makes me think twice. Look forward to seeing what you had.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I get the feeling a lot of the cheaper Bordeaux varietal wine just can't stand on its own without oak. Maybe the raw materials aren't that great, the oak masks other flaws. So the producers take the easy way out and over-compensate. Still, I think a lot of times we open the wines pretty young when the oak is even more obvious. It would be a relatively cheap experiment to try aging some of the mid-level Chilean stuff. Won't ever be great, but if I'm lucky, the oak integrates before the fruit dries out.