Wine: Aged to aggression

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From the December 12, 2013 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

I’ll admit it, the delicate wire “cage” around this bottle got me. So fancy, isn’t it? The perfect subject for the next “pretty bottles” edition of the wine column.

This 2007 Anciano Tempranillo ($10, Hausfrau Haven) hails from Valdepenas, Spain, a region known for producing a red-white blend called clarete. But this is not that. It’s tempranillo, traditionally a Spanish grape that’s known for being everything from bright and fruity to spicy.

This particular bottle is aged five years, both the front and back of the bottle labels are eager to point out, allowing it to gain an oaky character that still boasts ripe fruit flavors. It is a full-bodied wine, tasting maybe of fruit but mostly of oak, smoke and maybe even a chalky (or some other mineral — slate?) aftertaste.

If you like powerful and interesting red wines, that’s a good thing. If you prefer something mellower or more fruit-forward — well, this won’t make your lips pucker, but it is dramatically different than your average cabernet. And as it sits, it does seem to mellow.

Drinking it alongside pot roast and root vegetables (I’m thinking winter here, of course) or lightly seasoned, grilled steaks might make it even more interesting.

Inside this pretty bottle: a smoky, oaky, powerful wine that isn’t too far from what the traditional-looking label and fancy packaging might lead you to believe.