Just a quick writeup for the holiday weekend...
This was a random pick, as I was looking for something in the $10 range, and at the particular shop that I visited, I had tried nearly everything that was available. I couldn't quite figure out what I was in the mood for, got tired of looking, and just grabbed something off the shelf. Ever do that with a bookshelf while staying at someone's home because you forgot to bring anything you actually wanted to read? You finally give up and accept that you're going to read a Reader's Digest Condensed version of a book that was already forgotten by 1983.
2007 Sangre de Toro Red Wine
Catalunya region of Spain
Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan)
$11, 13.5% abv.
Not a lot on the nose, pretty sure this one is past its prime. A little dusty plum, very low tannins, etc. It started out a little tart and rough, so I decanted it for a few hours. (I love using a French press carafe as a decanter. So much easier to handle and clean than a big curvy one.) Decanting made it more palatable, but not more enjoyable. I ended up using some of it in spaghetti sauce and some of it as a braising liquid, so nothing went to waste.
Side note on the packaging: Aside from the little plastic bull hanging from the neck, the label touted the environmental benefits of a super lightweight bottle. And indeed, it was very light. I didn't have a scale with me, but I've encountered some seriously heavy bottles recently, and in comparisons with those and standard bottles, it was obvious that this was in fact made from much thinner glass. I'm split on this issue, because while I know the difference adds up over the long run, there's a basic bit of human psychology that is hard to get past: things that are heavier are considered more valuable. It's something that goes back to basic primate instincts, where a fruit that feels heavy for its size is better to eat. It's why sometimes electronics manufacturers will put a heavy metal plate into a handheld device, because if it's too light people will assume that it's cheap and will break easily. Having trouble selling a fancy remote for a home entertainment system? Pack it full of enough useless steel that you double the weight and suddenly it seems like a much more solid product.
There are other fun signals, like the voluptuous shape and shiny foil of a sparkling wine bottle, or an Alsatian wine might seem light and delicate because of the tall, thin bottle. As always, I'm a fan of alternative packaging and enclosures, but I don't think that going with thinner glass bottles will make a major impact, especially with table wines meant to be consumed early, like this one should have been.