By Father Tony
Making a last minute wine run? Here are two Spaniards and One Argentinian:
Volteo 2008 Tempranillo + Shiraz
Tapeña 2006 Garnacha
Condor Peak 2008 Malbec
Can you guess which of these $11 bottles is head and shoulders above the other two?
I am not really recommending the Condor Peak Malbec. Raw on the first sniff, and on the first taste, its flavor seemed cloaked. This wine did not seem to have a face. I walked away from it for twenty minutes. When I returned to it for another taste, it seemed to have developed an odd "bubble gum" aftertaste. I have decided that wines with bird-related names are to be avoided.
My first taste of the Volteo tempranillo and shiraz mix was not abrasive, not astounding, not bad. The tempranillo seems to lighten the jammy shiraz and the shiraz seems to anchor the tempranillo. A very sensible pairing. This is a crowd-pleasing wine with a pleasantly yeasty aroma. I'd use it when having a number of people with varying tastes to dinner. I think it would go better with a main course than with a cheese platter. (Again, one of the two critters depicted on the label seems to be a bird but might be a circus acrobat on a horse.)
The Tapeña Garnacha (grenache) is the huge and delightful surprise. Lush and fruity. The first taste made me think I was in a cafe in Barcelona with Penelope Cruz who was telling secrets about Tom Cruise. I would pour this wine for winter guests when they first arrive and have just taken off their coats and gloves. It is full of laughter and innuendo. Also, this wine tasted very good even on the second day after its opening! (Gotham Wines at 2517 Broadway may have it. I've learned never to trust the websites of wine merchants. They are never ever accurate. Call them at 212 932-0990 and ask them to check the rack not the computer.)