Saturday, June 9, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $ El Portal Red Table Wine Blend, Lodi and Delta Region, California, 2007 = BEST VALUE

Find prices and retail availability for bargain tempranillo.

By way of background: This is tempranillo, a red wine best know for its ubiquity in Spain.  This bargain blend hails from the central California regions of Lodi and Delta.

Initial review : This is El Portal Red Table Wine Blend, Lodi and Delta Region, California, 2007, finished at 13.% alcohol.  It is a blend of tempranillo and cabernet franc, made by Zunio of Morgan Hill, California.  This is part of the Wine Insiders collection California Wine Club Selection, with review sample provided by Wine Insiders. 

In the glass: El Portal is deep ruby with some brick at the edge. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows bright sandy brick with some lively floral aromatics.  From the aroma, seems like this will be bright, tart, perhaps sweet, with a lighter, floral quality.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact almost dark and tobacco charry in the mid-palate, blending with a solid leathery plum fruit.  Surprisingly deep and dense for such a light nose.  Acids tend to carry the blend into the finish but in a clean, balanced way.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for distinctive character in both its nose and palate.   This is a good value at its bargain price.

Following long decant, several days kept cool in partially-filled bottle: On the nose now, there is sweet fruit with a muddy charcoal foundation.  Sounds unpleasant, but it's not. It is more an interesting aromatic blend that makes you keep coming back to see if your nose got it right.  Intriguing, really.  Still charry on the palate, perhaps too charry, but the fruit is knitting together with the charcoal somewhat better with the long decant.   It is close, maybe someday this will hit a third star.  Even longer decant, full week kept cool in partially-filled bottle: Now sweeter deep fruit on the nose. The charcoal has lifted from the palate, bringing a round dark fruit to the surface. And, yes, it DOES  hit a third star now, making it a best value.
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Updated review, over a year later, June, 2012:   Consistent color.  Nose shows a bit of oxidation.  Soft and dark fruit on the mid-palate, like roasted chestnuts plus ripe blackberry.  Not only hits the third star with this extra year of age, but gains a plus for its satisfying depths.  Awesome value. 

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Find prices and retail availability for bargain tempranillo.

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