Outside it was well beyond 35 C! So, a BBQ seemed to be the best pretence to get decently plastered. For such an occasion Tempranillo based wines seemed relatively adequate. At least for me. That is why it got to be one Portuguese from Alentejano and two well known evergreens from Ribera del Duero.
VR Francisco B. Fino Montefino Reserva Tinto 2004, Alentejano
The Montefino was an Aragonez (regional name for Tempranillo) dominated red blend from Alentejano. A very dry and hot viticulture area in the south of Portugal. The smaller siblings in this blend were Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet. Thankfully no French newcomers which are unusually popular in this region of Portugal were included in this blend.
Its colour was red-brown and somehow bowed down by its age. Not so much vitality was going on in the reflexes. The bouquet was very earthy and savage. I got fragrances of horse dung, wet charcoal, a lot of olive oil, noodle water, hay, wild marjoram and some brown (slightly spoilt) fruits. A multilayered nose without the feeling of super complexity or intense concentration. Almost a bit light and cheery. Totally unlike its colour. The taste was pretty crude, acidic, smoky and show plenty of tart characteristics. This impression eased after 3 to 4 hours, but the actual style remained. Then flavours of dark cherries, nougat, stems and olives unveiled. At this stage it seemed quite lively and nice, but not more. The concentration or extract never showed any signs of exaggeration. The alcohol was well integrated, too. So, harsh but not super buff. Well, what can I say? Umm, ... a not so easy drinking, robust and rural tinto without too many typical features of classical Tempranillo based wines. Definitely good for grilled beef ;-)
Alejandro Fernandez Pesquera Crianza 2004, Ribera del Duero
A bit unusually murky and not so tinted dark as I remembered it. The nose seemed cooler, a bit reserved, at first maybe a bit stinky herbal’ish, but overall far more elegant than the Condado. The taste showed well aged and typical flavours for a Tempranillo (in a slightly more grown-up style). Maybe not so much of the expected powerful Ribera style (left?). Good oak integration, a bit smoky, smooth tannins and overall slightly austere (at least compared to the Condado). The reserved character and the almost gentle berry + dark cherry aromas + a distinct earthiness were present throughout the evening. Good length and balanced body. Really contenting wine without polarisation qualities. Approx. 14 months ago it presented itself different and more oaky-fruitful. This time I enjoyed it a bit more. Beware: Tons of stuff on the bottom of the bottle.
Alejandro Fernandez Condado de Haza 2004, Ribera del Duero
Very juicy and radiant dark red colour! The nose was totally Condado. A lot of sweet oak, blackheart, slightly boiled fruits, some dried tomatoes and fair amount of tobacco. The typical “elegant-fruit-bomb-style” you might expect from a Condado! The taste was really oily and juicy. Besides that the taste was as expected and very similar to my nose impressions. Almost the same like the one 14 months ago. Maybe a bit less Mediterranean spices. Uncomplicated, decent and typical Ribera feelings arose. Perfect for BBQs.