I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and unfortunately my day job interferes with my hobby (wine!). Between hopping on airplanes, checking e-mail on my BlackBerry in the backseat of taxis, scheduling meetings, coming home to mountains of laundry and an empty refridgerator, getting my kids back on a normal schedule after a week of spoiling at Grandma’s, and trying to catch up on sleep — well, it’s been tough to enjoy a decent glass of wine, let alone write about it.
But tonight the laundry is done and my husband is engrossed in Bear Grylls’ survival adventures, so the wine bottle and the computer are mine — ALL MINE! (insert maniacal laugh here)
I have a couple of bottles of REALLY cheap wine, but I don’t have the patience to waste the night on questionable wine. So I opened a bottle of 2002 Manyana Crianza tempranillo. I found it on sale at Smith’s (Kroger) for $8.99, but I believe it’s usually about $11.
I have been loving tempranillos lately. They’re solid, hearty reds with a nice fruity component that mellows without sweetening. I HATE sweet wine.
There are several things I like about this wine, and only a few of them have to do with taste. Let’s start with the label. The label explains the wine, even defining “crianza” — it means “aged” and is a distinction given to wines that are barrel-aged for six months and bottle-aged for another six months. The label includes tasting notes and suggested food pairings; it recommends spicy pork or beef dishes, so I suppose my pizza dinner with spicy Italian sausage will do.
My tasting experience mirrors the label’s notes. The wine has a bold fruity, almost jammy, taste but nicely balanced with oak and vanilla. I used to think heavy oak was the signature of great wine, but I’ve since grown up and learned to appreciate the delicate balance between fruit and oak.
This Manyana hails from Carinena, Spain, and is an excellent example of what a good, value tempranillo should taste like. It has earned a permanent slot on Mama’s wine rack!