Posts Tagged ‘Spain


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 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!//


2014 World Cup Predictions

Around this time in 2006, I predicted Spain would make it to the semis, and they did. Now it’s 2010, so I’ll make predictions for the 2014 World Cup.

First, France and Italy will advance past the first stage, and America should make it to the elite eight, maybe. America is a weird and unpredictable team. They do well in the regular season of qualifiers, but fall apart in World Cup play. Though this time the refs led to some of the downfall.

Brasil, as the home team, will definitely make it to the semis. They will have the drums in the crowd beating out the rhythm they need to play good ball. The reason they didn’t make it this year is because the vuvuzelas drowned out the drums. The Brazilians had no rhythm against the Netherlands, plus they got a little ego after that first goal. But it was really the vuvuzelas to blame for the loss.

Ghana should also make it to the semis. They’ll recover after that heart-breaking loss to Uruguay, who will lose today to the Netherlands. Ghana is so talented and so young, they will only get better. I love Ghana. I loved them after their first game.

Germany, who will beat Spain tomorrow, will be in the semis in 2014, too. Germany’s always in the semis, so that’s safe. Spain could be even better if they open up the game some more.

Who else is of interest. The Ivory Coast played good ball and will advance to the second round in 2014. I like how Japan played. They should repeat what they did this year in 2010. Spain and Portugal should be good again. Uruguay won’t don’t as well unless they get a scorer. They’ve a great defense, but they need a striker. I still like Chile to do something, too.

So for the 2014 World Cup semis it will be Brasil, Germany, Ghana, and an unknown.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day twenty-seven

Tres Ojos Old Vines GarnachaMy two favorite teams are playing tomorrow in the World Cup, Brasil and Ghana. Sigh. I have to work. I’ll try to have it on in the background. But that’s tomorrow, and today is Thursday, and it feels like it has been Thursday all this week and all last week.

In celebration of Friday being tomorrow, the long Fourth-of-July weekend ahead, and as an early toast to Brasil and Ghana winning, I will drink the Tres Ojos Old Vines Garnacha 2007 from Calatayud, Spain. (I hope Ghana wins. It’ll be tough because Uruguay has a solid defense.)

Here’s a little history about the estate:

Tres Ojos is made at the Bodega San Gregorio, a cave co-op founded in 1965 that counts 160 members. The president is Gregorio Abad Gil and the vice president is Jose Maria Hernandez. They sell wine to nine different countries. The winery is located in the Ribota River Valley, some 15 kilometers north of the city of Calatayud. Tres Ojos hails from the D.O. Calatayud, located in Aragon, a province unparalleled in Spain by its variety of landscapes (lush river valleys, mountainsides, and semi-desert areas.)  The name Calatayud derives from a Moorish governor named Ayud who built a castle (qalat) at the confluence of the Jalon and Jiloca rivers (qalat Ayud.)  There has been thriving population here as far back as Roman times when the old city of Bilbilis was used as an important staging-post for the Roman legions on their way north to Gaul. (For more information about Tres Ojos, see:
Tres Ojos Vineyard

Tres Ojos Vineyard

How about that? A cave! Plus, the grapes grow in a semi-desert area. I know there’s a need for the grapes to work and struggle, but a semi-desert? These grapes are gonna be like a suffering artist who, I hope, produces something beautiful.

But first, what’s the difference between Grenahce and Garnacha? I think they are the same, but I want to make sure. I mean, there is a difference between Syrah and Shiraz. Syrah is Old World with Old World passion, while Shiraz is New World with New World bigness. Okay, my research is complete. Grenache and Garnacha are the same. “Garnacha” is Spanish for “Grenache,” which is French.

Where were we. Oh, yeah. Suffering. So, let’s see what suffering looks and tastes like. Vamos.

I love the color. It’s a bright purple, so I sense happiness is coming my way and not suffering. It’s a fun nose that starts off juicy and with berries, then it finishes dry and with dark cherries. There’s a green melon in there, too. It smells like it will be juicy delicious.

It felt cool on the tongue, with a juicy body, and a dry finish. A peppery, dark cherry on the finish. It tastes like it smells. (My girlfriend tastes Little Caesar’s pizza. I kinda get that, too, but leaning more to a frozen pizza with lots of sauce, but a good frozen pizza, like the one you’d have at 2:3o in the morning.)

There’s no suffering here. Not like the Hungarian Bull’s Blood from last night. No, this is nothing but happiness on the front of the mouth. On the finish is where the suffering comes, though, I suppose. But’s it a tasty suffering. A suffering I want to endure again and again.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day nineteen

Chile flagOh, Chile. Chile is doing so much good lately. They are making wonderful wines. I particularly love the Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s one of my favorite everyday wines. There’s good fish coming from Chile, at least there was before I became a vegetarian in January. They are becoming a very green energy country, especially with automobiles. And they have a good futbol team. They are 1-0 right now in World Cup play. I don’t know what I’ll do when the play Spain on June 25, because I enjoy Spanish futbol, too. I remember after 2006’s World Cup, I thought they would be one of the elite teams in 2010, but whoa. They lost to Switzerland?! Plus, Chile and Spain are my favorite wine countries. They are like twins separated by an ocean and some mountains.

Armado Cabernet Sauvignon 2007So today I am going to try the Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. It has a dark cherry color with a hint of brown. It looks big bodied, and it has the typical Cabernet legs. It’s got a woody nose. Maybe even like a forest with moss and mushrooms. And deep, deep in the center of that forest is a plum tree.

At the same time, it smells like a medium-rare steak. Odd. My girlfriend picked up on that. A forest of steaks with a plum heart.

I just looked at the glass again. It’s been about 10 minutes since I swirled it, and the legs are still there clinging for life, . . . or  ttrying to climb out and get into my mouth.


This is a fairly big wine with some big dark berries and a hint of plum. It has a sour finish that lingers for a few seconds, as well as a hint of black pepper. It doesn’t make me think of Chile. It’s not at all like that silky and juicy Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s not to say I don’t like this wine. I do enjoy it, especially for $9.

Stawberry Sundae Crunch BarIt’s so big. It’s got funk. It’s big and funky. It’s so big and funky, it needs some food to put it in its place, like a Strawberry Sundae Crunch Bar or some 18-year-old balsamic vinegar.

What it really needs is some groove. Some “Groove Holmes.”

In fact, from now on, I want to be known as “Groove.” Thomas “Groove” Holmes.

That’s right. Get down with “Groove Holmes” and some Chilean happiness and funk. Drop the beat but don’t drop the glass.//

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

The Cave

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