05 Valcantara, Grenache Old Vine
This is a test. But it is more than a test. A test to see if you really like wine, or just names, luxury, and the movie Sideways. The 05 Valcantara grenache is, hands-down, one of the best Spanish grenaches I've ever tried. Wow, this is good. And there's hardly any of that mineral crap I always talk about. Its "sense of place" is mirage-like at best. But it manages to achieve what few wines ever do: a balance of gloriously rich, decadent fruit with Gatorade-like quenchability. The tannins are silky, and no more aggressive or bitter than the blueberry skins themselves you'd expect to chew on were the fruit flavors in this wine incarnate. It's plush without being glycerine. Creamy without being oaky. Satisfying on a summer's day without being too tart. Then, suddenly, an aroma fills the air. Sure, we have our juicy wine in hand--that would be enough--but then an unexpected earthiness starts to fill my nose. Yes, it's that damp, muddy, slightly smoky smell that anyone with a heart for Old World wine craves. What a bonus. What a gift. What an answer.