Wine of the Week: Vina Gormaz Tempranillo

Wine: Vina Gormaz Tempranillo

Grape: Tempranillo

Region: Ribera del Duero, Spain

Vintage: 2011

Price: $9.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquor

In the glass: Vina Gormaz wine is a deep fire-brick red color with a semiopaque core going out into a fine vermillion-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: A plethora of crushed red fruits emerge at first with red cherries, currants and cranberries. Then the flavor changes a little to let the more rustic red fruits come out with very clean and well-defined scents that border on rosehip fruit and plums and finally there are some hints of minerals and California peppercorns, as well as red licorice nibs.

On the palate: It is a bright and completely fruit-driven wine with a nice supple medley of red berries, cherries, red grape crush and this nice acidity to balance the wine out. This balance holds up well through the midpalate where the purity of the wine, on account of having no oak, shows the true side of pure tempranillo with peppered fruit, strawberry sauce and cranberry juice. It finishes with a nice lingering soft tannin kick, which gives the wine backbone.

Odds and ends: Usually when I taste tempranillo wines from most Spanish winegrowing areas, there are some distinct telltale scents and flavors that make them supereasy to pick out in a blind tasting. Characteristics that I have usually used to describe these wines are things like heavy vanilla pudding, creme brulee and dill pickle. You’d think they’d use French oak, but tempranillo likes the American oak better and this wine likes no wood at all, which makes it interesting.

It is fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks, so all the “markers” that are normally found, are not there. So, it’s all bright red fruit with no oak obfuscation. This makes the wine an anomaly in the Iberian peninsula lineup that is normally sold into the American market. The majority of Spanish wines produced — and Spain is in the top three of wine-producing nations — go into the domestic market. But, in most cases, they’re not very good or complex wines.

Fortunately for us, several savvy U.S. importers have been selecting superb wines at excellent value to consumers. Classical Wines of Spain, which brings this Vina Gormaz to market, is one of them. The wine is priced at just less than $10 per bottle and should be a great match with lamb chops. Open it an hour before consumption; drink now through 2016.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at