Wine: Don Simon Seleccion Tempranillo
Region: Tierra de Castilla, central Spain
Availability: Whole Foods Market
In the glass: Don Simon wine is deeply colored purplish-red with a dense inky core going out into a violet-fuchsia rim definition with a medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: It has loads of crushed red and black berry fruits emanating from the bowl of the glass, dominated by blueberries, red cherries, plums and marionberries. Subtle hints of new American oak with vanilla, blackberry liqueur and violet pastilles also add to the semi-complex notes coming off this wine.
On the palate: There is a swift fruity attack laden with smashed blueberries, raspberries, peppery spices, licorice root and herbs, followed by a mellow but pungent midpalate that shows yet more berry crush. The nicely lingering finish is redolent with soft, ripe tannins that are well-structured and velvety, ending with a touch of black cherry juice and vanilla.
Odds and ends: A normal shopping trip to Whole Foods Market results in a bill of more than $100 no matter what you buy. Imagine my joy at finding a new line of wines at Whole Foods for $3.99! Don Simon is a generic lineup of wines that are made especially for this chain of natural grocery stores and are stacked high in front of every store at the moment, featuring not only this delicious tempranillo wine but a chardonnay and also, strangely, a shiraz, which has to be syrah, since no real shiraz is planted in Spain. Clearly the tempranillo, which is the only indigenous (to Spain) grape variety of the group, is the winner here, and tasting them among other wines from Spain, they are not only a superb value but also have backbone, character and length, all hallmarks of well-made wines. I think one New Year’s resolution has to be to seek out even better wines for less money, and I’ll certainly do my best to help you achieve that goal. Don Simon Seleccion Tempranillo is a nicely packaged wine with a handy screw-cap bottle, so you can have a glass or two and save the rest for the next day or two without losing the essence of the wine. Try it with piping hot meat empanadas straight up. Drink it now through 2014.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.