Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monte Ducay Reserva 2004 (Carinena)

I mainly picked this up because it was wrapped in paper...and I was curious. Normally, wrapped bottles are a lot more than $5.99, and they rarely show up at Trader Joes. It's not a mark of quality; if anything, it's a sign that you're paying to much for whatever you're drinking. It's at tip-off that the wine is "branded," at least to me, and isn't all about what's inside. Of course, you're going to see stuff like Mouton (I think...it's one of the big Bordeaux houses) wrapped, and a variety of super high-end Napa Cabs. Anyways, I was curious, and was secretly hoping that I'd get home and have a poor man's version of a Gran Reserva Rioja. I pulled that paper off, expecting to see a label, but was greeted with an unlabeled bottle underneath. Curious. It's got to be more expensive to wrap the bottle in paper than to sticker it, right? At the end of the day though, I don't give a shit what the wine comes in, if it's good, it's good. 

I did some looking online for this wine; information is scarce. I'm just guessing at what's in it--I'm going to say Tempranillo, maybe blended with something else. However, I did find a reference to being able to purchase this wine for 2.75 Euro (about US $3.69 at the current exchange rate) directly from the winery in Spain. That's certainly a cheap bottle of wine. I've never had a sub-4$ bottle of US wine that's this good...too bad we have to pay for the importer to import it, and for Trader Joe's mark-up. It's imported into the US by Latitude Imports, who I've had okay luck with in the past. (I'm a fan of the Now & Zen White for 5$, and I had a couple bottles of Grand Cru Saint Emilion that weren't bad either.) This wine isn't going to floor you, or baffle you with its' complexity and poise. I can say that it is a solid 6$ bottle of wine, and worth picking up to quaff with something rustic--I'm thinking sausages, or maybe a roast chicken. There's a lot of cherry/berry fruit, as well as lots of earth, some herbal qualities, and a healthy dollop of vanilla. As the wine opens up, it reveals some tannin, and a little bit of structure. Not out of whack balance wise. Not much of a finish, but hey--this wine is 6$. It's probably a "carafe wine" in Spain--this is a lot more than I expect from a typical 6$ bottle of wine, and worth picking up and trying once if you're at all interested in Spanish wine. B+/A-  

7 comments:

jason said...

Haven't seen this one yet, based on your take I'll definitely grab a bottle when I do. The only other bottling I've had from the region was Grenache/Tempranillo (80/20), not that it solves the mystery but thought I would share. BTW, I'm hearing good things about the Trader Joe's branded Albarino as well...

Jeff said...

Thanks for the tip on the Albarino. I'll check that out if I see it.

I wonder what grape(s) are in this wine? It's fairly earthy, which makes me think Tempranillo, but it could also be Garnacha, or Carinena (Carignan). Those are the main grapes for the region. And of course, they're growing international stuff too, so who knows? It might be Merlot or something also. My bet is that it's something more traditional though.

jason said...

grabbed this one tonight but it is the '05 version. I'll let you know what I think when I give it a go!

jason said...

Finally got around to drinking (and posting) this one and wanted to share two things: 1) I found this was a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon and 2) re. Latitude Wines: They only handle import and logistics for Trader Joe's. There not picking any of these wines. I know from trying to request tasting notes for previous posts.

Jeff said...

Interesting about Latitude. I had a couple Bordeaux that I got at Costco from them? http://www.vivalawino.com/2010/03/chateau-laroque-saint-emilion-grand-cru.html

I think your 12th bottle assessment is spot on. I don't know that I'll buy another bottle just because it's not that interesting. But it is a good value.

Bri said...

Hi, nice to read the review. I was intrigued to see if Monte Ducay wines are available outside Spain (I live in Southern Spain, on the Mediterranean). I occasionally buy the Reserva, it's 2.65€ ($3.50) at the moment, but that's pushing the boat out!!! Our 'daily' wine is the Monte Ducay Crianza at 1.75€ ($2.31), just very, very nice, smooth wine (is that acceptable terminology?), at an incredible price! Cheers, Brian.

Jeff said...

Dang, I'm jealous of you. We definitely have a dearth of affordable wines that are decent to drink in the states. Certainly nothing for the equivalent of 2$...