Wine: Darien Tempranillo Red Wine.
Region: Rioja, Northern Spain
In the glass: Darien Tempranillo is a deeply colored purple-red with a dense blackish core going out into a violet-tinged rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: There are upfront pungent, spicy crushed black and red plums, blackberry liqueur, pomegranate juice, sandalwood, exotic spices, herb references, cherry sorbet, vanilla bean pod and fruit-driven minerals.
On the palate: There is concentrated and extracted freshly crushed cherries, currants, brambleberries, mulberry sauce and huckleberry coulis, then a hugely rounded midpalate with excellent tannin structure, and a good, long finish with hints of sweet pomegranate juice and spicy figs. It lingers for a while and allows for the impression that it is a really well-made wine that has good aging potential.
Odds and ends: It was exciting to taste this wine from the universally acclaimed 2009 vintage, because it underscores that it may be one of the great top-to-bottom vintages in the world, post 1945. These Spanish overachievers continue to impress in tastings. Darien has everything one would expect in a great $25 to $30 bottle of wine for less than $6. It is made in a fairly traditional style from tempranillo or tinto rojo grapes, and was aged in American oak. This is solid juice in great looking packaging and will be your go-to pizza wine in the months to come. It should drink well now through 2015.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.