Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Montecillo Crianza 2003 and Saxonshires cheese

Montecillo Crianza 2003
Rioja (Spanish)
ABV 13.5%
$9.99 [on sale, normally $11.99]

Time to study! I bought this wine on impulse to help me through my environmental law outlining. Then, on further impulse, I bought fixings for the perfect study-time snack platter: red globe grapes, crackers, and "Stripey Jack" cheese, more commonly known as "Saxonshires" or "5 Counties."

Saxonshires is a delicious English cheese composed of five layered cheeses, including Double Gloucester, Caerphilly, Cheshire, Leicester, and English cheddar. Not only does it make a stunning display on a cheese platter, but it is truly delicious whether you pick apart the layers and eat them separately or if you eat them all together.

As for the wine, I couldn't accurately evaluate the color since I was drinking out of one of my sister's novelty goblets that is a translucent blue with air bubbles in the glass. I have got to get some good, basic stemware for my own apartment!

The description on the bottle says: "Bodegas Montecillo, founded in 1874, selects only the finest Tempranillo grapes for this Montecillo Crianza. Aged for more than one year in oak barrels and one year in bottle, this wine is ruby red in color with intense fruit aromas. Ideal with white or red meat. Serve at temperature of 63-64˚ F."

The wine was very, very oak-y on the nose. I couldn't smell too much else. There were some faint whiffs of pepper and blackberry, but mainly, the nose was scarily oaky.

After a taste, my first imipression was that the wine was all oak. On second sip, though it still tasted very oaky, I also picked up some very tart, sour blackberries and black raspberries.

The finish is very nice and pretty long, though I did get quite a bit of that tannic, fuzzy feeling around the front of my top lip at the beginning of the finish. The tannins fade fairly quickly though, to reveal the berries on the finish.

I think I was lucky to find a bottle of the 2003 vintage, or I might have been overwhelmed by the tannins, but maybe not. I'm not very experienced with how wines tend to age.

My overall impression is that this wine is super intense! But I kind of like it, which surprises me, since I tend to hate the overly oaked wines...don't get me wrong, I like a little hint of oak, but when it's the predominant flavor, I usually have problems. I would say that this wine is pretty balanced with the fruits, though I certainly would not call this fruit forward.

As a bonus, this wine seems to go very nice with the cheese! In the future, I may post about how I normally don't enjoy cheese and wine together, so keep an eye out for that!