Red wine, Spain, Tempranillo

Dacu 2010

Produced by: Bodegas Emeritas
Winemaker: Alberto Orte
Grape: 100% Tempranillo
Region: Ribera del Guadiana, Spain

I usually pick a bottle or two of my favorite Pinot Noir for the holidays. This year, I will make an exception, as I already purchased a case of this great, newly discovered wine! Tempranillo might be my favorite grape, but what is the most seductive about it is the fact that where ever it grows (throughout the Spain), it absorbs the characteristics of its origin.

(Interestingly enough, Spanish native Tempranillo doesn’t do that well anywhere outside of Spain). So let’s say comparing 100% Tempranillo wine from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro or perhaps La Mancha – is like drinking four completely different wines.

Dacu isn’t exception to this rule. The grapes for this wine, although coming from a single-vineyard, are farmed on 3 different soil types (as the vineyard is divided), so it is also vinified in 3 different methods to suit the fruit from each soil type. Tempranillo vines are located altitude of 1,837 ft. above the sea level and showcase an entirely unique characteristics.

To preserve the excellence of the fruit, Alberto leaves wine in oak for the minimum time. Grapes are typically mixed with their skins for two weeks, with light soaking. After maceration and fermentation are complete, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in the barrel.
This superb, refreshing then wine ages for just three months in French ( 3 years old) oak barrels.

Ribera del Guadiana, the second largest appellation in Spain, is currently not very well known to many people, including some Spaniards. Bodegas Emeritas (formerly known as Bodegas Ortiz) was founded in 2007 by Jose Ortiz, Alberto Orte and Patrick Mata. Their goal was simple: to make an excellent value wine. Despite all the extensive labor and attention to every detail, this bottle is priced under $ 10.00. Yes, they keep their promise, and definitely over-delivered!!!

Tasting notes:
Beautiful clean, ruby color with lovely aroma of fresh fruit like raspberries and wild flowers. On the palate this is light – to medium body wine (as it is opening up) with sexy spice on the tongue. Completely unique, seductive flavors beautifully balanced with acidity.

If I didn’t know it spent a little time in oak, I would swear it was made in stainless steel or betonage, as you can hardly detect any signs of oaky flavors. All you taste is an excellent ripe fruit (like raspberries, cherries, even a little red plum or blueberry).

Dacu is a modern, vibrant, fresh deliciousness, with velvety delicate tannins. Wine is gaining body as it’s opening up in the glass.  In the price point (under $10.00) it is a steal for any appreciative wine enthusiast! Take a note, and go buy this new house wine of mine!

Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $10.00

Ideal food pairing:
I already tried this wine with variety of food – latest with flat bread pizza with roasted peppers, red onions and mushrooms. This is extremely food friendly wine – and I am planning to pair it with my Thanksgiving dinner. I will let you know how that worked!


How we traveled the Spain without a passport

Sorry for being behind in my blog lately, I was extremely busy with something else. And, now it’s over! I am talking about our Spanish wine course. I have to admit – it was quite a ride! I loved to meet some new wine enthusiasts that were into Spanish wines, just like I am. And perhaps some that weren’t, but slowly became? I hope so!

Bodegas Volver - Tempranillo Old Vines

It all started with a big presentation I did for American Wine Society in February of this year.

The invitation got me excited and worried at the same time – you know, talking to people that are making wine themselves, could be a challenge.

I have a huge admiration for that hard work, but don’t know enough about all the technical aspects of wine making to hold an appropriate debate in that field. But it wasn’t about that at all. It was about wines of Spain – my big passion. The group of AWS members was truly great, and we spent quite a time together.

It took us 4 hours to go through major wine regions of Spain and to taste about 16 wines. Sure, part of it was breaks to taste the delicious food they brought, and also the fact that they asked a lot of questions. Not that I knew the answer to every one of them, but I tried. That’s what made it so exciting!

Every special question offered another point of view for our debate. Just imagine yourself talking about subject that interests you – and having no response from the audience. And now imagine the other possibility – having audience completely interested!

It also made me work harder to research all the technical aspects of each wine, sugar and acidity levels, Ph, what temperature it was fermented at, etc… stuff that you normally don’t need for “regular wine tasting”. It was a great moment when I realized that we clicked, we were on the same page.

I guess my ego also got a boost (especially that standing ovation at the end, don’t mean to brag about it). I have worked home for way too long, creating stuff without direct feedback. And every one of us needs some occasional patting on the shoulder.

So when some members of our wine club asked me to do something similar for Vera Wine Club, I thought: why not. I can put some new use to all those hours of research.

But I didn’t want to repeat the same, lengthy presentation. It could be overwhelming for somebody, who doesn’t taste a lot of wines on regular bases. At the same time, which wines would I cut to make it shorter?  The presentation was designed to taste most of the Spanish native varieties, and almost every significant wine region of Spain.

So instead of cutting, I came up with the project of 3 wine classes. Something that wouldn’t be as expensive as wine dinner, but gives people the chance to taste a large variety of wines. And so I did.

To conduct such a tasting in the best possible manner, each class was covering few regions of the Spanish map. Started with the coolest parts, we were moving towards the southern, warmest climate.

Patrick Mata and his business partner Alberto Orte (owners of Ole Imports) had done years of research on multiple climates of Spain. They considered the soil, the elevation, the exposure to the sun, the rainfall and many other little aspects that influence vine growing, and split Spain into 10 different climate zones. The higher the number of the zone, the less acidity the wine from there has.

Most of us know that when you do a tasting, you start with whites and continue with reds, or you taste older wines before younger, brighter wines. But what do you do, when you  taste 10 reds, all the same vintage, all Spanish – how do you decide on the sequence of such tasting?

That’s when the levels of acidity in wine comes to play. So I used Patrick’s and Alberto’s “Liquid geography” principle to conduct our wine classes. Thank you, guys, for putting this fantastic piece of research together, and for letting me use it!

The first trip (I mean the first class) we took, brought us to ….. continue