29 November 2006

2000 Campo Viejo Tempranillo Reserva

Sometimes you have to wait until after a meal to make a good wine match.

I had lunch at a little Mexican joint here in Memphis--La Guadalupana if you're interested. It's one of those great little places that breaks out of the tacos & fajitas structure you see in the more mainstream Mexican restaurants. Those items are on the menu, but you also get a wide range of soups and seafood options, as well as dishes incorporating more authentic (but scarier to your average gringo) ingredients like tripe and tongue.

I was in the mood for something different, so I went for the barbacoa de chivo, goat braised in a rich broth made with guajillo peppers. Served with some fresh corn tortillas and the standard beans and rice, though the refried beans had a wonderful smoky flavor that hinted they had been made from scratch with love.

Goat, in case you haven't had it before, is somewhere between lamb and pork in flavor and generally has to be cooked for a while before it gets tender. The food was fantastic (particularly with the thick green hot sauce on the table), though when I got home I helped myself to a glass of Spanish wine while the taste was still lingering in my mouth. The 2000 Campo Viejo Tempranillo Reserva is from the Rioja region of Spain. (Today's Spanish lesson: Campo Viejo means "old country" or "old field".) Still some strong fruit and tannins for a six year old wine. I get some dried strawberry flavors, with that sort of ashy finish you get with some Old World wines. Occasionally reminiscent of spiced cider at Christmas.

Next time I might just have to get the goat to go.

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