Think back to when you were a child. Your favourite food may have been hot dogs or Kraft dinner, you probably drank apple juice or milk, and you probably loved Mars or Snickers bars.
Then you got older.
You started buying specialty sausages with vegetables and curry. You started trying Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican and Moroccan dishes. Instead of apple juice you may be drinking Pomegranate and Mango Juice, or San Pellegrino instead of Milk. You munch on Lindt chocolates instead of a Snickers. As you have matured your tastes changed, and many of you became more adventurous.
And so it is with wine. As my vinuous tastes have evolved, the 10$ rack has become less and less appealing to me. I value complexity over volume, flavour over alcohol - give me a half bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape and keep your box of Aussie Shiraz! It is not snobbery - I don't look down on Vin de Table (there are numerous reviews on this site), but I use VdT as a tool (like that Snickers in the vending machine). I just plain seek more from a wine than I used to.
So where the heck am I going with this? Michele and Kevin have graciously agreed to host WBW#35, focusing on Spanish wine, preferably under US$10. Despite my comments above, I was very excited by this tasting. Why? Because my most successful wines in this price range have all been Spanish. Michele and Kevin are on to something, and value conscious consumers should take note.
I decided to blog the 2005 Torres Sangre de Toro tonight, but not because of the cute little bull dangling from the neck of the bottle (I love that little guy...). This was my one of my early favourites when I first 'got into' wine. It seems so long ago that this was my go-to, can't-lose wine. So many fantastic wine memories standing between me and my last bottle of Sangre de Toro - how would it show?
Ruby red port in hue, I remembered this Grenache blend from Catalunya as being a more deep, dense, purple - "Bull's Blood", as per the label. Very little on the nose - alcohol, coffee grounds, vague scents of dark berries. On the palate it was simple and light-bodied, with some blackberry fruit and good acidity, but somewhat unbalanced due to the noticeable alcohol. No length, and not showing typical Grenache scents and flavours. Slightly different from my memory (a big, powerfully fruity wine), it seems to have been finessed, softened, for the 2005 vintage. Overall, a competent Vin de Table, but nothing more. A good match for spaghetti and meat sauce, and a pretty good value.
Price: C$12.60 (US$12, tax in)
Epilogue: Unfortunately, this vintage of Sangre de Toro did not highlight the potential for greatness that exists in inexpensive Spanish wine. Check out my Spanish Great Values piece (especially the Castano Hecula or Dominio Espinal) for some good houses/labels, or see my review of the Campobarro Tempranillo here.
Thanks to Lenn for organizing WBW, and check out the My Wine Education site for Michele and Kevin's summary of other WBW finds in inexpensive Spanish wine. Cheers!