Sometimes neat things happen here. Friday evening David Hobbs of Prime Wines showed up with a couple open bottles of Anciano wines from Spain. He said to add them to the tasting lineup for the evening. I had placed a large order with him earlier in the week and I think his tasting donation was a "thank you" of sorts. One of the open Ancianos was the "5 Year" which means it was aged in oak barrels for five years. The other was the 2002 "10 Year", which was very good also but the 5 Year was a true delight.
We sold several cases of the Anciano that evening which got me to thinking about the last time we had such success in tasting sales and it was actually five years ago and before the recession. One evening back then we sold a similar amount of a Montepulciano that has since left the market as has the distributor who poured it, both recession casualties. Then one evening a couple years ago at a tasting a customer burst into the store gushing about a Chilean Carmenere he had purchased here and now he wanted several more cases of that wine. Several tasters that night said, "I want what he's having" and ordered cases at his prompting. But that was different because we weren't tasting the wine that night. But it was neat too.
Anciano is a label produced by Bodegas Navalon in the Valdepenas DO (Denominacion de Origen) which is surrounded by the La Mancha DO on the desolate Meseta plateau in the middle of the country. If you want to read about La Mancha, scroll back to the June 8th blogpost of this year. Why would Spain create a DO within the boundaries of another DO? Well, of course it has to do with history, or better yet, pre-history.
Spain is arguably the oldest European wine-producing country. When the grapes were brought up to the continent from the Middle East, the merchant seafarers stopped at southern Italy and Sicily and Spain and from those beginnings the vines began their travels across the continent. Archeologists have now dated civilization in Valdepenas to the Bronze Age, approximately 1000-1300bc. The inhabitants were members of a tribe called "Bronze of Levante" and the artifacts now being unearthed are remnants of military fortifications at higher elevation settlements called "motillas".
Now back to the wine... Tasting notes for the Anciano 5 Year include: ruby-brick color; balsamic, licorice, and fruit compote aromas; rich fruit with balanced tannins on the palate; and a long and intense finish. Food affinities include stews, red meat, and mature cheeses. I got all of that from what sounds like a great outfit, The Well-Oiled Wine Company. My contribution here is simply that the fruit component of this wine is what makes it special. That fruit really jumps!
Did we mention that the wine retails for $10.99/btl?
Please join us on Friday September 27th between 5 and 7pm when again delve into a smorgasbord of California and European reds and one great Italian Pinot Grigio and please become a "follower" here so I will feel validated. (Momma always wanted me to amount to something.)