Tempranillo for Thanksgiving?

A well known former winemaker had told George that Tempranillo is a good wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. George was skeptical so he decided the Thursday tasting would be Tempranillo with turkey. Gail was only able to get white meat in time for the tasting so he asked us to use our imaginations to think how it might pair with the whole dinner. Our conclusion was that some of the Tempranillos we tasted would go well with parts of the dinner and some were too big for a turkey dinner. For our Thanksgiving we usually put two or three wine glasses out for each guest so they can try multiple wines and try to find a good match with what they are eating at the moment.

2005 Sierra Cantabria Rioja – This is a Crianza which means it has been aged for two years and had six months in oak. The color was a dark ruby and Nancy felt the nose was closed. However, I got dark fruit with floral hints. The flavor was rich dark fruit with spice. There were moderate tannins a nice amount of acid. It finishes with a little heat and sweetness. Most people felt this went well with the turkey and would go well with dinner. This was the second favorite wine of the evening.

2003 Alejandro Fernandez Dehesa La Granja – It had a dark garnet color with smoke, caramel and dried fruit (older) in the nose. There were dried fruit flavors with a moderate amount of tannins but seemed to have a little too much acid, a little tart. The food improved it a little but still was a little to acidic. It had a moderate finish.

2004 Gran Feudo – There was a medium garnet color and initially there was a wet cardboard smell, almost as if corked. That blew rather quickly leaving a rather closed nose. It tasted like dark fruit, slightly spicy but overall somewhat understated and uninteresting. It was well balanced with good acid and most people thought it would match well with the turkey dinner.

I thought it was actually a more complex wine than others did. I think it suffered from following two much bigger wines. We have reviewed this wine earlier with different results.

2004 Tandem Carmino de Santiago – This wine is from Navarra which is north of Rioja. The color was dark ruby and the nose had herbal and dark fruit. It tasted of ripe dark fruit and spice with a little vanilla. Moderate tannins and good acid with a moderately long finish. It was complex and went well by itself but should also go well with the turkey dinner. Some thought it was too big a wine but also was the favorite wine of the night.

2006 St. Amant Tempranillo Amador County – A very dark ruby with a caramel and sweet nose. The flavor consisted of very ripe dark fruit and vanilla. Moderate plus tannins and good acid and long finish but just too ripe. Very much a new world style.

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