2005 Alberto Furque Tempranillo



The more I try new wines, the more I realize that I really like wine. Love wine, actually. If you were a fly on the wall here at TWH this week, you may have heard me mumbling something about needing therapy (I do, but that’s another story altogether). It has everything to do with my seeking out Old World wines and my not being able to keep a straight face when a customer asks about the differences between vintages in California. I somehow now have a reputation for only liking, and only drinking French wines. This is flat out wrong. One such person who once accused me of such close-mindedness now knows that it just isn’t true.

I owe a lot to New World wines. When I was first getting to know wine, I remember making a conscious decision to delve into California wines. Easy decision, right? I mean the vineyards are an hour or so away and there’s no such thing as a bad year … no brainer. I tasted my way around, found producers that I particularly liked, and started building a cellar. My thirst grew for different wines. Fortunately, I have friends with similar curiosities. It is more common than not for my friends and I to enjoy Old World wines. We dine together often, and find that the lower alcohol levels found in Old World wines are complementary to a good meal. But that, by no means, is the end-all! Let me tell you about a New World Tempranillo!

If you’ve been reading our emails, you may recall a time or two when my colleague, Anya has praised Alberto Furque’s Malbec from Argentina. Daughter Carolina makes the wine at the estate now, and though the Malbec is great, it ain’t the only game in town. Furque makes the most of her 5 hectares of Tempranillo vines. Known as the grape that gives red Rioja its giddy-up, it seems to thrive at the 3000 foot elevation of Furque’s vineyards in Mendoza. At least I think so. I love this wine! And guess what? It’s not only from the New World, it tastes like it. And I’m okay with that. Coming in at a moderate 13.6% alcohol, it shows restraint, yes, but that pure red fruit profile is just so dang easy to like. To accompany that easy to love fruitiness, it shows hints of spice, forest floor, herbs, and one of Cupid’s arrows … okay, maybe not that last one, but you’ll fall in love with this wine; it’s that good. So good, mind you, that the aforementioned person who once dismissed me as a “French only” wine drinker was surprised to find me sitting at the bar of the restaurant she manages with a bottle of bright, bold, fruity, New World Tempranillo. “See? I get out of France … and I’m loving it!” I poured her a taste, and then she got serious. She started asking questions. I left the bottle for her staff. They all loved it. She’s now pouring it by the glass. It’s that good.
Call me what you want. Label me all you want. I will prove you wrong every time. Just when you think all I ever drink is austere Old World geek wine, watch me pull out a juicy, fruit forward New World offering. They are making some pretty classy stuff down in Argentina … interesting … wheels are turning … everybody who I know that has been there has reported back having had a rip-roaringly good time. Been thinking about going there for a few years now. Maybe it’s time to send Carolina an email …Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about Tempranillo, my favorite restaurant in Marin, what I will be doing now that footy season is over, or trips to Argentina: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

Not only can Carolina make great wine, these pictures are her’s as well!

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