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Tempranillo Day

Yesterday, we celebrated “Tempranillo Day“, a concept put forward and championed by our friends at TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society). And though a fabulous evening, “grape days”, which are all the rage right now (#cabernet day was also yesterday and #grenache day is coming up soon) are a bit tiring and becoming a little silly, in our humble opinion. We’re all for cheering on wines from certain grapes, but we don’t seek our wines based on their grape variety; we much rather focus on their story and history.

So last night, we decided to open up 2 wines, one which states 100% Tempranillo, and the other which contains a wee bit of Tempranillo (as pointed out by Victor de la Serna). The first was a 2006 Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada, the second a 1982 Viña Tondonia Reserva. Guess which one we prefered.

Lately, life has been a series of reflections over the past few years of our lives. Recent events have instigated a trip down memory lane, making us ponder where we came from and how we arrived where we are today, living in Spain and doing what we are doing, which is why we opened the first bottle. It’s a key wine in our history in Spain.

When we first arrived on Spanish soil, we were wrestling with the various options available to us to pursue a career, but it was Abadia Retuerta that gave us our first clue. Don Cusimano, a New Yorker at heart, was working at Abadia at the time and foresaw the vast potential in blogging. Having met a few times at events, and after extending an invitation to visit the winery, we were asked to help guide them into the world of social media. Intriguingly, there wasn’t a winery in Spain who had a blog at the time, instigating heartfelt laughter that a winery would even consider having one. Clearly, a lot has changed.

We parted ways as consultatns with Abadia a few years ago, but it was in 2006 that we received our first hard earned money in the world of social media and wine. It was the first step towards our creation of  the European Wine Bloggers Conference, and eventually, Vrazon. Hence, we decided to open the wine in honor of that very first launch into longstanding career in social media. Sadly, it failed to impress. Not to say that there was not something nice hidden in there, but right from the beginning it made a lumber yard seem “under oaked”. Pretty fruit and spice lay hidden under a clutter of toppled wood logs. Though in fairness, having been opened a day, the sweet fruit began to show more, as they sat speared with thick toothpicks of fragrant wood. I remember liking Abadia wines, and yet with this wine we found our enthusiasm lacking.

Consequently, we fell back to a less than pure Tempranillo, but another wine which holds a special place in our hearts, the Viña Tondonia 1982. Now granted, this was our first time tasting the 1982, but I can safely say that it will not be our last. When we hosted our first European Wine Bloggers Conference in Rioja, Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia was kind enough to help us out by sending some bottles for us to open at our grand tasting. We had had their wines before, but I remember that evening for the simple fact that as we looked around the room as each person sipped, many for the first time, the 1998 White Tondonia. Around the room, people’s faces lit up as this incredible wine slid off their palates. It was love at first sip, something that seems to happen regualarly with all Tondonia wines.

Last night was no different. When you open the bottle and take your first sniffy sniff, you are bathed in aromas of strawberries, chocolate, leather, cigar box, and so much more. It’s like a wave of history wrapping around your head as you realize that life is good and can go on. I think we nibbled on some homemade pizza, that I can’t really remember that well. The wine was simply beautiful and a complete show stealer. Elegant, long lived and still youthful, it reminded me of a dapper old man, whose eyes still twinkle at the site of beautiful young women in their brightly colored summer dresses, as he sits on a park bench enjoying the summer sun.

Where “grape days” may succeed is that they inspire you to open a bottle you may not have otherwise, or maybe in this case, they remind you to open a few special things more often. We hope you enjoyed a wine or two, #Cabernet or #Tempranillo, let us know about it in the comments below.

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

*Buy either of the photos in this post at ImageKind and support Ryan’s photography addiction

Top image of Fall Terroir and Bottom image of Tempranillo Abstract

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