19 November 2008

2006 Encyclopedia Tempranillo

Here's my second look at the new Coppola Encyclopedia wines in the odd-shaped bottles. The 2006 Encyclopedia Tempranillo is from Yecla in Southeast Spain. $14, 13.5% abv. The nose has a little stewed fruit with a touch of herbs, medium tannins, and a black cherry finish. It's a solid but uncomplicated wine that's food friendly in the grand tradition of Spanish wines. The tannins are probably a little strong for Thanksgiving but keep this in mind for stews and braises over the winter months. I thought it was a great burger wine.

The screwcap is large, 1⅝" (42mm) across, ample room for printing a quote. (The silver swirl destroys the contrast necessary for legibility! Elementary design concepts!) The bottles are designed to be reused as decanters or containers for olive oil, vinegar, etc.

I suppose I should take this opportunity to mention that I've got a new camera. For the past three years almost every photo on this blog has been taken with a Fujifilm FinePix s5000. The Fuji was a great camera and I was able to coax some amazing shots out of it, but for a bridge camera (between standard point-and-shoot and DSLR), I started running into limitations with it regarding low light conditions and chromatic aberration when using macro lenses. I recently upgraded to a Nikon D40, a true digital SLR with the ability to swap out lenses.

I normally don't repeat photos, but take this recent shot. Very low light conditions, yet I shot it without a tripod and without any special setup. I just put the camera in full auto and snapped a picture. Due to the lenses, with a DSLR it's very easy to get that low depth of field look. Without going into all the math, it just means that what you want people to pay attention to is in focus and everything else in front of or behind the object is blurry. In the top photo of the wine bottle, the screwcap is in sharp focus but you can barely discern any details about the background other than colors. (This method can be increased or decreased through various methods, but I'm not teaching a photography class here.)

Will the Nikon D40 give you outstanding photos? Only if you take a lot of terrible ones first. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. But out of the different cameras I've used throughout the years, this is simultaneously the easiest and, if I want to explore all the different settings and adjustments, the most powerful camera I've owned. If you're interested, check out the review linked above, and if you decide to get one for Christmas, you can purchase it from my Amazon store, where you'll find customer reviews, accessories, and other detailed information.

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