People are always asking me what my favorite wine or grape varietal is. That is an impossible question to answer when the world offers so many delicious and intriguing wines from incredibly historic places. I enjoy drinking my way around the globe and, if the wine is sound and of good quality, tastes like the varietal(s) and is a good pairing with the food, I am happy.
However, I know people are looking for wine recommendations not an esoteric comment that makes me sound smug. So, the following is a picture of the label of the wine we drank last night. This is one of my favorite ‘Wednesday wines’, affordably priced (around $15), I have tasted many vintages and while I liked some vintages better than others, I have never been disappointed.
2014 Bodegas Ondarre Reserva Rioja
This wine is from the Rioja region of Spain and is a red blend of 85% Tempranillo (pronounced ‘temp-rah-nee-yo’), 10% Garnacha (Grenache) and 5% Mazuelo (Carignan which is generally grown in France). It was aged in American and French oak barrels and, as it is a Reserva, it was aged for three years (probably in tanks with one of those years in oak). On the palate, the wine is dry and fresh with ripe red berries, plum, dusty leather and finishes with a bit of soft vanilla spice. The wine shows a medium to medium plus tannin structure but presents soft on the palate with just enough bright acidity and a long finish (which is surprising considering the price point).
I love Rioja wines and, while I was lucky to spend a few days in the mountain town of Laguardia in the La Rioja region of Spain, my brother-in-law, Tom Vonderbrink is my real Spanish hero. Tom spent 40+ days on his first pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago – the Way of St. James. The Bodegas Ondarre is located along ‘the way’ he walked, and the winery website pictures a pilgrim with a hiking pole walking through their vineyards. I thought this would be a good ‘shout out’ to Tom along with a wish and a prayer that we all can get back to an adventurous life in the very near future.
Tom, in the spirit of giving, family and friendship, I have shipped a bottle of this 2014 Bodegas Ondarre Riserva to you as a wonderful memory of your accomplishment (along with a bottle of 2016 Cune Rioja, just because). Please enjoy and drink to all of our health and to all ‘essentials’ in this crazy world.
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