Last night I participated in an online tasting with winemaker Phil Wente and Chef Matt Greco of Wente Vineyards in the Livermore Valley of California due east of San Francisco. We tried The Whip and The Spur, two interesting blends that show new combinations each year depending on what mix is working well. I've written about many Wente wines in the past, but on this particular occasion got a chance to try one that shows the unique imagination of the winemakers.
Along with the wines the internet tasters received a small jar of the chef's homemade chorizo spice rub. It's not ground up dried pork sausage, but rather a dry rub based on the flavor combinations of that delicious Spanish treat. I have not used it yet, but once it cools down a bit I will be rubbing it on a bone-in pork loin and slow smoking it. Mmmmm...
2011 Wente Vineyards Los Tesoros Zarzuela
32% Souzão, 22% Petite Sirah, 21% Tempranillo, 13% Barbera, 11% Graciano, 1% Touriga Francesa
$45, 13.2% abv.
Lovely dark fruit flavors, deep with plum and a touch of leather and chocolate, with mild tannins and a long, lingering finish. Nicely tart bite to it as it warms up a bit, then earthy, then herbal, then fruity... there is a little bit of everything in this wine. Even bay leaves. Definitely a thinker, and one that I would pair with mildly seasoned lamb or game, allowing the earthiness of the dish and wine to shine through.
Note: This wine was provided as a sample.