Personal oddity, if I purchase or even think about purchasing alcohol before 3pm embarrassment and shame come into play. America seems to place this guilt factor on drinking. Back home I constantly hear 'it's five o'clock somewhere' and ' I've been so good, I've only had 3 glasses of wine this week.' Yeah, so? We tend to 'need a drink' which usually leads to over consumption/abuse rather than a healthy social habit. Europeans culturally live healthier (personal opinion), with more emphasis on daily routine. Days here are in units and everyone partakes in the same activities during that particular unit. Well, a slightly looser description than that, but you know what I mean.
This tangent is leading us back to the road, I promise - Last week I decided to 'save time' while walking home (how American of me) and stop in at the grocer for some wine. Unfortunately, my timing hit the siesta unit. Shops are closed, markets packed, shutters down, everyone is home or out feasting on lunch. However, the local 'chain' grocer stays open. When I casually strolled in, it was a ghost town. The lounging about staff turned their heads all together and winced at the now flashing neon tourist sign above my head. I continued on through the low saloon gates, which I felt should have been locked? Envisioned a tumbleweed passing before me while the eyes of the townspeople were locked upon this stranger. Then I quickly shot myself back into reality. After picking up three apples and a bag of bitter greens I made my way to the wine. There, I remained for 12 minutes pacing back and forth, examining bottles, comparing prices obsessively, with new regions in mind. Then I finally figured why I was having such a difficult time deciding. I'm a label person. Poor wine labels are a turn off. It's kinda sad but true - but I had to play reasonable. So, I checked out with a 7 euro, pleasant face from a new region then trotted off with a wildcard in hand.
THIS WEEK'S BOTTLE:
Vineyard: Bodegas Bilbainas
Name: Vina Pomal
Region: Haro - La Rioja
La Rioja is a province of northern Spain. It lies just south of this Basque country. The town Haro is in the northwestern region of La Rioja, where this vineyard inhabits. Haro is known for it's annual summer wine festival. 'Battle of the Wine' where drinking competitions take place and what's our throwing of Mardi Gras beads is their throwing buckets of wine on one another.
Bodegas Bilbainas is the largest vineyard in northern Rioja and the largest to have all it's vineyards in Haro. Vina Pomal is a single-vineyard wine, which is a concept used by winemakers who desire a distinction. The word Crianza seen on the label means that the wine is in it's 3rd year and has spent at least 12 months in cask.
After a few swirls and a couple sips, the heavy pigment and dark fruit flavors left me with a purple smile. As we know from last week, tempranillo is a full bodied black grape - a plum looking beauty. This wine had a definite dryness and acidic-like twang - or as I like to call it...a hyper hypo wine. I prefer one which has simmered down. More mellow, smooth, no punch that makes your eyes water. Though, pair this baby with some cheese and bread, you'll have a fine table wine. But really, who am I kidding? It's not bad, just not one to lust for.
Even though my random siesta rendezvous wasn't a complete discovery, it was well for knowledge. By the bye, no 'label theory' next week - Marti will be back perusing bottles as well!