03 Jan Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Vara 2020 Tinto Especial
At the end of last year, I enjoyed a bottle of sparkling wine from Vara that was a mix of grapes from two countries. And this year, I started the year with another wine from Vara, this time a red blend sourced from grapes from Spain and California. As we begin a new year, I love the idea of blending wine regions and grape varieties in a wine as it represents the unity and harmony that we all deserve. And that is why the Vara 2020 Tinto Especial is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
It started in Spain. Spanish missionaries planted the first vitis vinifera vines in New Mexico in 1649. Over the centuries, vines made their way to California. It was this process of viticultural migration that the oenological histories of Spain, California, and New Mexico became forever entwined. Celebrating this connection, Vara Winery & Distillery was launched in 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Vara Winery produce wines from Spanish grape varieties grown in Spain as well as grapes from various American vineyards including New Mexico. The Vara team includes winemakers Bob Lindquist and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist who are specialists with regards to Rhone and Spanish varieties.
The 2020 Tinto Especial is a blend of 29% Cariñena and 28% Mencia from Spain, with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Tempranillo from Central California. The blend is rounded out with 8% Garnacha, 5% Syrah and 5% Merlot from the Montsant DO of Spain. The grapes were stainless steel fermented and spent 15 months in 78% neutral oak and 22% new French oak before being aged for an additional 18 months in bottle. The wine is a beautiful deep red color. On the nose, there are ripe notes of cherries, blackberries, plums, as well as a lovely herbal, spice, and white pepper note. On the palate, the full-bodied wine is robust with good structure.
This bold and powerful wine has the ability to pair with big flavors. I enjoyed it with brisket and it was a good pairing. The meat flavors harmonized with the wine and the ripe fruit notes of the wine really shone. Enjoy this wine with all sorts of meat dishes, including Prime rib and roasted leg of lamb.
WHERE TO PURCHASE
The Vara 2020 Tinto Especial retails for $45 and be purchased at Vara Wines.
MEET THE WINEMAKER
Listen to the interview I did with Bob Lindquist on the Wine Soundtrack USA podcast.
Listen to the interview I did with Louisa Sawyer Lindquist on the Wine Soundtrack USA podcast.