100% Tempranillo [TEM-pruh-NEE-yo]
This is another bottle from Spanish Wine God Jorge Ordonez. See yesterday’s review on Can Blau for a little more about him…
The Tempranillo grape is native to Spain and is arguably one of the most “noble” of all Spanish varietals.
The grapes going into the Volver are harvested from a small 72 acre vineyard that were planted in 1967. The wine is fermented in its barrel, and aged for 14 months in new French oak.
The word Tempranillo comes from the Spanish word temprano, meaning “early" (the grape supposedly ripens weeks earlier than other grapes). Tempranillo goes by a bunch of different synonyms depending on the region of Spain you are in, for example in Catalonia (a region close to Barcelona) they call it Ull de Llebre, which means "Eye of the Hare". Don’t ask me why…
“Volver” is the name given to Bodega Volver’s best Tempranillo grapes.
The majority of Tempranillo wines you see around are best consumed young; however if the wine is aged in oak barrels for a few years, and then cellared carefully (as the Volver is), it produces much more of a fuller-bodied style, and in turn can be sold at a much higher price, (as the Volver isn’t).
The region is flat and suffers from extreme temperatures variations. Winemakers must deal with frequent droughts as La Mancha doesn’t get much rain due to the mountains that circle the region. Temperatures can drop as low as 10°F in the winter, and get up into the low 100’s in the summer!
Tempranillo is one of the most widely planted grapes in La Mancha, along with Garnacha (Grenache), Merlot and Syrah, however it is the obscure white grape Airén that dominates over 80% of planted vineyards.
The La Mancha region is so famous, it even has it’s own book and musical!
“Man of La Mancha”(full title “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”) is a novel written by Miguel de Cervantes. Published in two volumes a decade apart (in 1605 and 1615), Don Quixote is supposedly considered the most influential work of literature from the “Spanish Golden Age”.
Very deep-dark purple in color. Smoky on the nose with dark cherries, plum, ripe blueberries and sweet vanilla. Fairly full-bodied and tannic on the palate, showing the same dark-black fruits. Complex layers of oak, roasted coffee beans, spice, and even though the alcohol is at 15%, the wine is remarkably well balanced. Really stays with you on the finish, perfectly good to drink by itself, but I would recommend some of the food pairings suggested below.
The Volver is drinking great right now, but would even reward a few years in the cellar (or in my case, “the closet”).
Wines made from the Tempranillo grape are some of the most food friendly wine available. They have good acidity, but not so much that they dominate over tapas, herb roasted pork/lamb, grilled beef tenderloin, chorizo, paella or even manchego cheese.
$15.99, and sees fairly widespread retail presence. However; I seriously have no idea why the Volver is this inexpensive!