This easy-to-love bright, fresh wine is just plain delicious. The nose delivers creamy black cherry aromas with notes of exotic incense, spice, pine blossom and lavender. Black cherry carries through on the palate with flavors of spice, licorice and dark chocolate.
Creamy black cherry, licorice, dark chocolate, dried thyme and white pepper.
Cortijo Tinto is the creation of importer and Spanish wine expert Patrick Mata and David Sampedro, an up-and-coming Rioja winemaker. Mata, who is deeply immersed in the Spanish wine scene, has a knack for discovering the country's rising stars and introducing them to the U.S. market. Among them is Sampedro, a young native of Rioja Alavesa and a former founding partner of Exopto, a winery he started with two good friends that immediately made a name for its powerful small-production red wine. Tempranillo, the dominant grape of Rioja, forms the backbone of Sampedro's Cortijo Tinto. This variety yields bold red wines with earthy, cherry-driven flavors. For the 2009 vintage, Sampedro blended in a portion of Garnacha (known as Grenache in France); its plump fruit flavors soften Tempranillo's firm tannins. Grapes for the Cortijo Tinto came from vineyards near the town of Hormilla, located at an elevation of more than 1,800 feet. The cool nights in this mountainous terrain help grapes develop slowly, despite the blazing summer heat, and preserve more of their natural acidity, an asset that can be tasted in this lush red.
With its lower alcohol and higher acidity, Tempranillo makes a versatile companion at the dinner table. The Cortijo Tinto will be delicious with nearly any pork dish, from grilled chops and serrano ham to a cured roast. This wine is rich and delightful on its own but is also worthy of a recipe like my Pan Roast Lamb Chops with Fennel Spice. The fennel spice in the recipe really brings all the flavor components together from wine to food and back to wine. Serve alongside my Potatoes Da Delphina and my Green Bean Casserole for a real show stopper evening of wine and food.
The Cortijo is a lovely lighter-bodied Rioja that's perfect for a warm spring evening. Try it on the patio with some olives, jamón serrano and chorizo before dinner.