The Wine Idiot Reviews: La Finca Tempranillo, 2014 ($3.99)
Inspired by my own adventurousness (I am talking about that Albariño, of course), I decided to go with a red wine that I otherwise would never pick up--and at the cheapest price point possible. I'm obviously somewhat of a Pinot girl, and big, spicy reds are not my favorite. But I do enjoy a good Malbec, and Trader Joe's has a couple that do the job. And that's what I was looking at--a La Finca Malbec I've never tried--when I noticed that La Finca also makes a Tempranillo.
I've only had Tempranillo once, as a substitute at a restaurant where they didn't have the Malbec my dinner companion really wanted. It was good--VERY peppery, not as robust as Malbecs I've had, all-in-all pretty delightful. So I decided to go really crazy and try a $4 Tempranillo.
In my estimation, this is one of the best deals at Trader Joe's. You can't even get a GLASS of wine for $4 in LA, and here you've got a WHOLE BOTTLE of pretty good wine! And it IS pretty good. I really enjoyed sipping this. It's super peppery at first, followed by an earthy (maybe leathery?) flavor. The finish is more fruity, with a mellow berry flavor.
I enjoyed this bottle with my friend David Mayes, who is a lawyer and had come over to guide me in the right direction on some research for Forever Fido, the dog rescue I've recently started working with. David apparently really likes Tempranillo, so I was excited to get his input. He said that he thinks it would be a great table wine--that it's oaky, but not overly so. Also, he said it's not overly "tannic," which he explained is that sharpness that I seriously hate sometimes in red wines. When the tannins are unbalanced, you can get that astringent taste in red wine that I have described as like biting on a penny. In his official estimation (but this is NOT legal advice), David says this wine would "kind of just go with everything."
We didn't have any food with this bottle, but we followed it up with another bottle that David had brought over from his recent trip to New York--apple wine!!! Have you ever had apple wine?! It's wine. But made out of APPLES. It was good. SO CRAZY. Not a whole lot different from cider? Except that it wasn't carbonated. It was sweet, but quite tasty.
Anyway. Back to the tempranillo.
What the bottle says: "The vineyards of Finca La Celia lie in the foothills of the Argentine Andes. Deep red colour with ruby hues. Very fruity on the nose, hints of ripe blackberry and cherry intermingled with smoked and vanilla aromas, cocoa, and white pepper with ruby hues due to aging in oak barrels for 3 months. Fruity long finish with a meaty character. Ideal for rich stews, grilled red meats, and flavored pasta dishes. Serve at 61-64 F."
What the Wine Idiot says: Wow, that's a lot of information for a $4 bottle of wine. I guess I would say...sure. Yeah. I agree with it.
Who's responsible for this? Finca La Celia, Mendoza, Argentina
Do I need a corkscrew? Yes
What do smarter people say about it? Mike Kopanski writes on CellarTracker: "It is what it is. Trader Joe's has a couple of shelves of different varietals from this producer. We have tried this for probably 2 vintages before this, so we can't say we did not know what was comming. It only costs 6 bucks. It does't suck, it is just really simple. It is clean and without major flaws. There is a small bit of varietal, Tempranillo character so you can differentiate it from their Malbec. A touch of earthy, cedar like rusticity. No RS here. Heavy swirling seem to do something. I have had a lot worse $6 wines."
Should I bring it to a friend's house? If I was going over to a friend's house for a super-casual dinner get-together, or just to drink some wine while watching some sportsball (do people besides me do that?), this would be a fun bottle to bring. But if you're bringing it to a dinner party as in "You have been invited to a dinner party!" then I would bring something a little better.