Last evening I stopped by Salem Wine Imports for their weekly Tuesday evening wine tasting. The stand out of the tasting, as well as being something a bit more uncommon, was the 2007 Bodegas Guelbenzu Red, an inexpensive Spanish wine.
This wine is a "Vinos de la Tierra" meaning that it is a category below the usual Spanish D.O. It is roughly equivalent to the French Vins de Pays. Sometimes Vinos de la Tierra is a temporary stop on route to D.O. designation. Others cherish this designation as it allows them more creativity in their wine making. This wine is from the Vinos de la Tierra of Ribera Del Queiles, a relatively new area which covers none municipal districts in Aragon and seven in Navarra. Bodegas Guelbenzu was the spark that led to the creation of this Vinos de la Tierra. I have never had a wine from this area before.
The 2007 Bodegas Guelbenzu Red is a blend of 45% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 18% Tempranillo and 7% Graciano. It sees no oak and is made in a more international style, so it is supposed to be more fruit forward. I did find it to be easy drinking and smooth, with plenty of red fruit flavors as well as hints of herbs. It had a bit more exotic flavor than a pure Merlot but also differed from a more dominant Tempranillo blend. This is a good pizza or burger wine, an easy quaffer that is sure to please.
Don't be afraid to try wines from new and different regions. You will never know if you like a wine until you actually taste it. Expand your horizons and seek the less common, the more unusual. Experiment with different wines and hopefully find a new favorite.
Salem Wine Imports
32 Church St.