Today I want to discuss not only a particular wine but a specific varietal of wine as well. Today I will discuss the Don Simon Tempranillo as well as the Tempranillo grape itself. Lets start this article off with first learning a little about the varietal known as Tempranillo.
The Tempranillo grape which is thought to have originated in Northern Spain (although some say southern France) is a varietal that has been around since at least the 13th century. The Tempranillo is thought to be a hybrid of Cabernet franc and Pinot Noir. The Tempranillo, which means "Little early One" due it's habit of ripening early in the Summer season is a medium to large, thick skinned black grape. The Tempranillo varietal has been used often as a blending grape and blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot as well as Garnacha and other grapes due to it's low acidity. The grape is also the main ingredient in the red wine known as Rioja. Tempranillo is very rarely bottled as a single varietal although I have found a few bottles at a place named Total Wine & Spirits here in Las Vegas that are single varietal. Tempranillo has in the past also been used in "Jug Wine". The varietal is slowly coming into it's own here in the United States however and for this I am happy since it has fast become my favorite varietal next to Cabernet Sauvignon. Tempranillo also loves a nice hot climate which I take note of living in the Desert of Las Vegas should I ever decide to change varietals that I am growing. Now that I have given you a little background on the Tempranillo known as the Tempranillo I am going to move into the review of the 2012 Don Simon Tempranillo.
The other day I was at Whole Foods Supermarket here in Vegas and while wondering around ( I do that a lot) I noticed a large display of a Tempranillo for $3.99. Being as I said that I absolutely love Tempranillo I couldn't resist. I was really excited to get the wine home and open it up and taste what a $4 Tempranillo tastes like. I had my hopes set high. Would my hopes be to high I wondered? Well after I did my shopping I did just that, I headed home to open the wine and sit back and relax and see what a $4 Tempranillo actually tastes like
On the pour of this wine I see a wine that is light to medium Cranberry in color. In the glass the wine sits a nice Cranberry in color as well.The bouquet of our Tempranillo is of Black berry and Cranberry.
I originally didn't notice but here is another one of those screw cap wines that is wrapped to look like a corked wine so after unscrewing the cap with anticipation I took a sip of the wine. With disappointment I tasted it. The wine immediately came across as flat, watery. There were hints of Blackberry and the wine finished off with Cranberry and slight pepper taste.There was no body or presence to this wine. Disjointed structure with medium Tannins. The wine was very mild more along the lines of an inexpensive, mellow Merlot that a Tempranillo. The wine also finished slightly watery. I proceeded to sip on the wine and after about 2 hours I have to admit that was once a bad wine seemed to amazingly, suddenly open up to be not as bad. The wine actually was turning out to be half decent, especially for $4. Yes the wine did start off VERY rough but the wine did develop and ended up being a decent Tempranillo. I have never experienced a wine change so much, I never knew it was possible. From a wine that seemed to have little of the characteristics of a decent wine let alone a Tempranillo to a wine that had quite a bit the characteristics of a Tempranillo. from a wine that I would originally put a barely an 83 on The Desert Wine Guy point scale to a wine that I would now place at an 87 (big difference). The wine ended up being Spicy, Peppery and full of Blackberry, Tannins and some Cassis. There was eventually some medium amounts of complexity as well. The wine did also finally develop the classic traits of a Tempranillo.
In closing I can't emphasize enough that you must give this wine at least 2.5 hours to breath. Use a good Decanter and find something else to do for a few hours but in the end I would definitely recommend coming back and you will find a wine that you CAN enjoy. If you don't give the wine that amount of time you will be saying "what is this Desert Wine Guy thinking?" Is this the best Tempranillo out there, no it is not but for $4 you really can't go wrong.
The Desert Wine Guy