Tuella

Maker: Symington, Gaia, Porto Grande, Portugal.wpid-2014-08-27-18.23.47.jpg.jpeg

Grapes: Unknown

Place of origin: Douro, Portugal.

Vintage: 2011

ABV: 13.5%

Purchased for $7 (Trader Joe’s)

Appearance: Dark burgundy,

Nose: Raspberry, toasted oak, whiff of hardwood smoke.

Palate: Sweet and tart on entry then dries out. Raspberry jam, blueberry, oak, white pepper.

Finish: Chewy with heavy tannins, black cherry, oak.

Parting words: For a $7 wine, Tuella is pretty good. What I tell people is that most of the wines at Trader Joe’s taste like a wine about twice the price. The $15 ones taste like $30 ones, the $20 ones taste like $40 ones and the $4 ones taste like $8 ones. This tastes like a $14 wine.

Tuella is OK on its own, but it’s a little unbalanced. It does very well with food, though. We had it with a cheese and red pepper pizza and it drank beautifully. It may well age nicely but I have a hard time devoting my limited cellar space to a wine that cost me less than $10. Tuella 2011 is recommended.

Emilio Moro 2007

Maker: Bodegas Emilio Moro, Valladolid, Spain

Grape: Tinto Fino, 100% (Tempranillo)

Region: Ribera del Duero DOC, Spain

Vintage: 2007

ABV: 14%

Appearance: Deep plum with tartrate crystals and long, luscious legs.

Nose: On first pour, the it’s a bruiser, but after a few minutes in the glass it learns to behave itself better. Still, a bit of alcohol shows up but balanced with wild blackberry, oak and creamy vanilla custard.

On the palate: Medium-dry and assertive but not obnoxious. Slightly tart, blueberries, big chubby west coast blackberries and a firm smack of leather on the back end. Very enjoyable, if that’s what you’re into.

Finish: Tannic at first and a little mealy. Eventually fades to a little sweetness and a little oak and vanilla.

Parting words: This wine scared me when I first opened it. It packed a massive punch right out of the bottle and I was afraid it would be a bull in a china shop, to coin a phrase. But when rested it is a very nice beef-oriented red. Tempranillo doesn’t always do well as a soloist. I find I usually enjoy it more when it’s lightened up with some Grenache or beefed up with some Cab or Merlot. Emilio and friends have managed to make a fairly complex, food-friendly, moderately priced red with nothing but Tempranillo. ¡Gracias a vos! Or something like that. Emilio Moror 2007 (and other vintages) come highly recommended.