Posts Tagged ‘Rioja


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 121 – Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009

Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009Tonight concludes the first week as student and teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi. It was only a half week, but, man, it felt full – for sure . . . and busy. So this evening, I’m just going to relax and recover, because this all starts up again tomorrow morning when I make syllabus plans for the next week of teaching ENG 101.

Tonight’s wine is Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009. Bonus, I will use the decanter for the first time in my Hattiesburg Hacienda.

When I was looking for images of this bottle, I kept finding returns with “Martín Códax Ergo Tempranillo” or variations on the order of words. I just looked on the back of the bottle, and “Martín Códax” is there. I think it is the vineyard. According to Wikipedia:

Martín Códax was a Galician medieval jogral (non-noble composer and performer — as opposed to a trobador), possibly from Vigo, Galicia, in present day Spain. He may have been active during the middle of the thirteenth century, judging from scriptological analysis (Monteagudo 2008). He is one of only two out of a total of 88 authors of cantigas d’amigo who uses only the archaic strophic form aaB (a rhymed distich followed by a refrain). And he also employs an archaic rhyme-system whereby i~o / a~o are used in alternating strophes. In addition Martin Codax consistently deploys a strict parallelistic technique known as leixa-pren [. . . ]. His dates, however, remain unknown and there is no documentary biographical information concerning the poet.

And then a little more research tells me:

Bodegas Martín Códax was founded in 1986 and was named after the most known Galician troubadour whose medieval poems, the oldest of Galician-Portuguese language, are preserved. In the poems, the troubadour sings to love and to the sea of our coastline (

Sweet: School. Decanter. Wine. Friday. Poet. It’s on baby. It’s on.

The color is dark maroon with hints of light purple or pink. It’s about 80 percent opaque.

Thee nose is spicy and with dark berries and with some dirt. To me it smells like what Spain would smell like near the Atlantic Ocean or the Straight of Gibraltar. Yes, I’m actually picking up salty sea air odors, and I picked up before using that quote about who the wine was named after. Ok. . . . A little more research shows me that this winery is in northwest Spain and right close to the Atlantic Ocean.

Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley

Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley

The winery is in Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley.

A little more research suggests the vineyard is closer to the Mediterranean Sea and in northeast Spain.

But if I think about it some more, Rioja is in central northern Spain.

Ergo, ha, I don’t where the hell this place is.

Arg. Nonetheless, it’s near salty water and I can smell it. It’s in there, damn it.

I had this wine the other day, and I thought it was okay. Today it’s a bit more tart and drier than I remember. The berries taste lighter than they smelled. It’s not as fruity or fruit forward as I thought it may be or remembered. There’s a bit of dark chocolate in here somewhere, too. And some plums.

It’s a pretty good wine. Certainly it’s 88 points, but I don’t think 89 points. It’s a good everyday Tempranillo. Have some. I think it might go well with some spicy shrimp sushi or well-cooked barbecued chicken.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day 102 (Bodegas Beronia Reserva Rioja 2006)

Bodegas Beronia Reserva Rioja 2006I picked up the Bodegas Beronia Reserva Rioja 2006 especially for tonight. Tonight is my last day of full-time work for a while, so I wanted to get something that I think will be good. It’s a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Mazuelo. I love Tempranillo, but I’ve never heard of the other two. I have no idea what it will taste like.

By the way, I forgot that “Bodegas” means “winery” in Spanish. So this wine is from the Beronia winery in Rioja, Spain. And here’s a little history about this winery.

Bodegas Beronia is found in the Rioja Alta area of the region which is situated to the west. In this area, the soil is mainly calcareous clay soil and the vineyards are on average at an altitude of 600 meters. This area’s climatic influences are from the Atlantic. However, due to the Cantabria and Demanda mountain ranges, it is sheltered from the worst Atlantic influences. It also boasts the Ebro river which creates a series of microclimates and provides much needed water for the vines. The situation of Bodegas Beronia is considered to be a unique place for the creation of wines of high quality.

The grapes used at Beronia come from vineyards from within a ten-mile radius of the cellars, ensuring that only the highest quality grapes enter the winery. A close relationship is maintained with the 150 vine growers who supply the grapes, guaranteeing that only the best quality grapes are selected and that the process is done so in the most natural way. Our technical experts frequently visit the estates to ensure that the use of fertilisers and chemicals are kept to a minimum. It is our priority to maintain healthy and high quality grapes.

Beronia, true to its tradition, produces a classic line of fine and well-balanced wines, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. In addition to these two white wines, a young Viura and a barrel fermented Viura. However they satisfy their innovative and avant-garde side with an interesting range of single variety wines, special production Tempranillo and Beronia Mazuelo Reserva, making them the only winery in Rioja to produce a reserve wine from the Mazuelo grape.

(cited from with some editing by me.)

And if you want even better history and story about this wine, check out the post on Le Dom di Vin. Now that’s a history!

And as explained in an earlier post:

Crianza means the wine has aged for two years and at least six months of that ageing was done in oak. Spain has some regulations, don’t you know. If you see a Reserva, that means the wine was aged three years with at least one year in oak. And if you see Gran Reserva, then it has aged for five years with at least 18 months in oak and three years in a bottle.

This is the Reserva, so it’s been aged for three years, and at least one of those years was in oak.


To the wine!


This wine looked darker when I poured it, and it’s still dark, but not as solid dark as I previously witnessed. The color actually pairs well with my dark red and black flannel. That’s right. I now pair my wines with my clothing.

The nose has dark berries, mustiness, tobacco, and some cranberries.

It has a sour, smoky finish. It’s a completely different wine on the finish. And it lingers for a long time in the mouth and throat and in the goose bumps that arise after the swallow. That was after the first taste. On the second taste, the sourness disappears, and the finish lasts as long as vapor.

Thinking of vapor. There’s a lot of alcohol in this one. Whoo.

Those other two grapes are pretty dominant in this wine. There are stealing the typical juiciness of the Tempranillo.

This wine would go good with steak and hamburgers and feta cheese. I keep wanting feta cheese with each sip.

There’s nothing exceptional about this wine, unless you like them dark. Robert Parker might like it, but I like mine a bit more fruitty and bright.

It’s still pretty good. I’d give it like a B+/89. It definitely needs some food to tame it.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day ninety-eight (Vina Zaco Temrpanillo 2007)

Vina Zaco Tempranillo 2007The 98th wine of the Juiciest Wine tour is Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Zaco Tempranillo 2007 from Rioja, Spain.

I don’t know anything about this wine. I just randomly picked it off the shelf. I like Tempranillo especially from Spain and especially from Rioja. And I like the label design – clean, simple, inventive and with movement.

The back label has this to say:

     A wine with just one puprpose: to be Rioja
     Its character, the fruit, and the expression of Tempranillo
     Rebellious, authentic, and delicious

Oh, and it’s 100% Temprnillo. I’m felling good about this one. Allons-y.

I get a dark cola on the nose, a hint of melon, tree bark, blackberries, maybe some moss, and dried mushrooms. Hmm. It’s almost like a forest. I do keep picturing the side of a mountain on the border of trees and rocks.  Something like this:

Mountain Side

or this:

Ch-paa-qn PeakBut more trees.


The body is eloquent. It’s like a waterfall.

Mountainside Waterfall

There are definitely some cherries in here. It’s trying to be jammy, too. It’s got red fruit and berries, so it’s kinda juicy. There’s just enough tannins in here to hold back that potential juiciness I crave.

The finish has a hint of spice, maybe cinnamon, but it’s a clean finish. It goes quick.

Ths Vina Zaco is quite deceptive. It’s trying to be something grand, but it’s too humble. It’s holding back. Maybe in another year or two it will flourish. But it’s still good.

I give it like a B+ or an 89.

I think it needs food.

Now, it’s getting addictive. I sip, set it down, sip, set it down. . . .  It’s all one long motion. It’s addictive because it tastes good and because, damn it, there’s something going on in it beyond my reach. It”s seductive, mysterious, and romantic.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day eighty-four (Bodegas Lan Rioja Crianza 2006)

So what do we know of tonight’s wine, Bodegas Lan Rioja Crianza 2006? It’s number 44 on The Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2010. (You can see the list here: The Wine Spectator Top 100 2010.) They also gave it 90 points, but after the last wine, d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Red 2008, who knows.

Also, it’s 100% Tempranillo, which is one of my favorites, and it’s from Spain. Bodegas Lan is the winery. Rioja is a wine region in Spain.

Rioja, Spain

Rioja Vineyards

And Crianza means the wine has aged for two years and at least six months of that ageing was done in oak. Spain has some regulations, don’t you know. If you see a Reserva, that means the wine was aged three years with at least one year in oak. And if you see Gran Reserva, then it has aged for five years with at least 18 months in oak and three years in a bottle.

Bodegas Lan Rioja Crianza 2006Ok. Are we all learnéd up. Good. To the wine.

The color is a dark Harvard crimson. (No not black and white like the newspaper.) Like this:

Harvard Crimson

but darker.

The body is light, and it’s about 60% opaque. (That means I can see through it.)

I smell Spain. I also smell red currants, bacon or prosciutto, and some spices (spicy spices). (My girlfriend gets uncooked sausage on the nose.)

As soon as it touched my tongue, I felt delight. I felt delight as it glided across my tongue and down into my belly. The finish, however, was a little chalky. It’s drier than expected. I definitely taste the red currants, and they are chewy. (My girlfriend gets cooked sausage.)

This would go good with meat or Chinese food. Mmm. Chinese food. Hmm. I may order Chinese food. One small bad thing about where I live is that the Chinese food place is half-a-block away. It’s like six degrees Fahrenheit, but I could walk there and back with out a jacket. Oh, and they are fast. A meal is ready 10 minutes after I call them. I think I’m trying to talk myself into Chinese food.

The wine!

I like this wine, but for a Tempranillo, it’s not juicy enough. But as I said I like this.  As a Tempranillo, it’s an 88. As a wine it’s an 89.

Time passes. Tick tick tick. Tick tick tick. Tick tick tick.

I adjust that rating. It’s loosening up. It juicy-ing up. It’s Tempranillo-ing up. This is getting better. Let’s say 89 as a Tempranillo, and 90 as a wine, if that makes sense. I mean, what I’m trying to say is, “You gotta drink this wine sideways, at an angle, but straight into the mouth. Kinda like you do with a cigarette when you don’t want the drag or smoke to interfere with your view of the person you are talking with or have the smoke get in the way.”

Did I say “sideways”. Yikes.

“I will not drink fucking Merlot.”

Actually, I will, but not tonight. Enjoy the  Crianza!//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

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