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2009 Anciano Crianza Tempranillo 

Valdepenas, Spain

Retail $10-$11

The inexpensive bottling's Old World label design and gold wire packaging are imposing, but what's inside is more impressive. Grapes were sourced from 30-year-old vines near Madrid, Spain. The vineyards are subject to arid and continental climates with moderating influences from the Mediterranean. Hardy, thick-skinned tempranillo grapes ripen well during sunny days, and cool nighttime temperatures help develop the grapes' acid balance. Produced at Bodegas Navalon, the wine was fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and then matured for six months in French and American oak barriques. The wine spent three years in oak casks prior to release. In the glass, the wine offers intense aromas of red and black fruit with vanilla, savory and spice notes. On the palate, it exhibits complex flavors of cherry, berries, spice, cedar and even tannins on the finish. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with roasted or grilled meats, game, hearty casseroles, red or black beans with pork or sausage, roasted eggplant with tomato-basil ragout and manchego cheese. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Co., Faubourg Wines, Dorignac's and most Rouses. Drink it at: The Tasting Room and Schiro's Cafe. ­— BRENDA MAITLAND


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