Bodegas Tintoralba Crianza Almansa 2000
The Almansa Denominación de Origen lies in the Castilla-La Mancha zone just north of
Jumilla and Yecla in southeastern Spain, about 100 miles inland from the Mediterranean. The
reds produced here have a reputation for being full-bodied; this dark ruby $14 wine is no
exception. The wine is fruit forward: cassis, prune, blackberry jam and honey with back notes
of black pepper, oak, cocoa, tobacco and smoke. The wine (80% Garnacha and 20% Syrah) is
aged for 12 months in new French oak and is unfiltered (indeed, I got a good deal of
sediment and would have watched for it had I known in advance).
I sampled the wine in what I call “action circumstances,” meaning that I incorporated it into
a dinner already in progress, with no opportunity to decant, using a less-than-ideal glass, scant
ability to nose and taste the wine without food influence, and a prior red wine already to my
credit. The wine performed admirably for all four diners that evening. It is full-bodied and yet
(at 13% alcohol) not too hot. The fruit is well-focused, complemented by a sour-cherry type
of acidity (reminding me strongly of Chianti) that provided an Old World foil for what was
otherwise a New World fruit statement. The tannins are straightforward and nicely in line.
Verdict: It Works
Spain is exploiting the wealth of its wines with ambition.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman