LUCCARELLI NEGROAMARO (2016) — Because it’s Wednesday, dammit

This week I have a find from our local booze shop’s “Consultant’s Choice” display. (Actually there are TWO such displays. I’m praising the <$20 collection—I’ve never had any from the pricey Consultant’s Choice shelf.) For just $13.99, this fruit-forward, full-bodied Italian wine will make your fur stand on end.

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But before I start mouthing off about wine again, a backgrounder on Puglia. I had no idea it existed, my fellow inebriates, until it appeared on the CC shelf. Puglia wine comes from Italy, where almost anything can grow. According to the Internet, if it contains notes of plum, raspberry and anise, the grapes were probably harvested off the back of the heel of the Italian boot. The bottle we tried, LUCCARELLI NEGROAMARO (2016) is a stunning example of Puglia, and one that we intend to buy repeatedly.

This wine has that quality that makes you go “ahhhh.” It makes you want to lick the bottom of the glass (which I’m not allowed to do even though I’m very absorbent).

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Hair of the Bear

8:00 a.m. today

Me: “Clearly, it’s time for the hair of the bear.”

My dad: “I can’t think of anything I want in my mouth less.”

 

VALDEPEÑAS ANCIANO GRAN RESERVA TEMPRANILLO (2005)—Because someone needs to mellow out

My Fellow Inebriates,

On Friday my mum told me to go away and make myself “useful.” When I offered to drink the bottle of ANCIANO GRAN RESERVA TEMPRANILLO on the counter and come back with useful tasting notes, she looked at her watch (9:00 am) and said, “No, I meant you could help Dad wash the car. He could probably use something small and absorbent.”

This seemed abusive, so I determined that I would drink that bottle at the first opportunity. I’d show her “absorbent”! Watch me absorb a bottle of wine!

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They were sneaky, though, and poured it into a bearproof decanter. Tempranillo is a varietal that benefits hugely from decanting, often changing character entirely from one hour to the next if it’s allowed to aerate sufficiently.

By law, a Spanish wine can be called “Gran Reserva” only after being barrel-aged at least five years. This particular bottle has seven years under its belt, and we’ve previously tried another by the same vintner that boasted ten years’ ageing. The ten-year wine was delicious, striking very typical Tempranillo chords: leather, vanilla, tannins, plus raisins, plums, and vegetal notes. I didn’t expect the seven-year wine to stack up, especially at $3 cheaper. How did it fare?

Well, once I got my furry face into a glass of seven-year ANCIANO, it delivered a surprisingly easy-drinking experience. Lush and full on the palate, inky in the glass, ANCIANO served up a diversity of flavors, headlined by ripe raspberries/currants with some vanilla and cedar for back-up. It was smooth and mellow—not challenging the way a Tempranillo often is—the sort of bottle you could open with your breakfast omelet, then sip all day (okay, you’d need several bottles). I loved it, people, and I’d buy it again. It’s a mellow sipper, and goodness knows we could stand to mellow out at LBHQ. Especially my mother.