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Wine of the week: Carro Tinto 2014

carrotintoThe Spanish Carro Tinto is a red wine that makes us realize not all wine should taste the way we expect

Patrick Mata of Ole Imports, whose company brings the Carro Tinto into the U.S., told me something recently that speaks to what so many others in wine don’t want to understand.

“The wines are what they are,” says Mata, “and they’re not supposed to be the same. They’re like people you meet, where everyone is different, and where you talk to one person differently than you do another person. What the wines are about flows from that. We don’t want them to all taste the same. That would be very boring.”

The Carro Tinto ($10, purchased, 14%) demonstrates exactly what Mata means. It’s a Spanish red wine, and my tasting notes make the point that “it’s not a wine one thinks of when one thinks of Spain. But it works.”

What do you need to know about the Carro Tinto?

• It’s a French-style blend with a little tempranillo from the Yecla region of Spain. But why not a different style, given that Yecla is small and little known?

• This is a previous vintage, which makes the quality even more remarkable given the price. There is no sign of age or that the wine is old and worn out. The 2016 should be spectacular.

• There is ripe and juicy cherry fruit, almost more California than Spanish, as well as an almost spicy character. But those are played off against a more traditional chalky earthiness, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

• Pair this with almost anything in the run-up to the holidays, be it a burger on the run or a beef stew for a family dinner. I’m thinking the Wine Curmudgeon’s infamous arroz con pollo.

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