Well, after being away for much too long, I’ve finally decided that it’s time to get back to business here at What’s Worth Drinking. Over the past few months I have been working on creating and operating the beverage program for a boutique hotel, bar, and restaurant, and it has taken up so much of my time that I have been unable to get away long enough to write anything new. But finally things are beginning to level out and I think that I’ll be able to get back to a fairly regular posting schedule.
In the time I’ve been away, I’ve tried some awesome wines, gone to some industry
events and tastings, and racked up plenty of material and inspiration
for lots of upcoming articles. I’ve also had time to rethink the way I write my articles to make them more user friendly and useful. I have updated the rating system, which will now include a 100 point scale score as well as a score from 1 to 5 that will assess the value of the wine (how much it is “worth drinking”). The score will be based on the quality of the wine compared to what else is available in a similar price range and style, with a score of 5 representing a huge value for the price, and a score of 1 (typical of either lesser quality wines or wines that are priced extremely high) representing less of a value when comparing quality for the price.
Anyone who has read my articles before knows that I like to cover some obscure material. So in addition to the new value scoring system, my reviews will now also include an “if you like…” section which will compare the featured wine to other, better known wine styles.
So today, with all that said, we’re going to put these new ideas to work and talk about something totally unique, Spanish Prieto Picudo.
Sip of the Day: Paramo 2009 “El Medico” Castilla y Leon Prieto Picudo
Grown around the city of Leon in northern Spain, Prieto Picudo is an indigenous red grape that is rarely found in stores. Its neighbor, the region’s Mencia variety is almost equally as obscure, but has recently been gaining popularity and press for its concentrated, deep fruity flavors. So it may only be a matter of time before Prieto Picudo gets its moment in the spotlight. If that is the case, lovers of Spanish wines are in for a treat. Dark and inky in the glass with an aromatic complexity that is uniquely its own, Prieto Picudo can be complex, incredibly structured, and deliciously bold. Well made Prieto Picudo can stand up to years of cellaring and can develop beautifully with it.
Today’s wine is a great example of Prieto Picudo when it is done expertly. The producer is not only the leading name in Prieto Picudo but also largely responsible for the grape’s return from virtually near extinction. With interest in the varietal decreasing and old vine plantings of Prieto Picudo facing being torn out and replaced with new, more productive vines, Pedro Gonzalez Mittelbrun, founder of Paramo, bought up the old vine vineyards and set to work reviving the almost lost varietal. “El Medico” is a 100% Prieto Picudo sourced from vines that are all at least 80 years old. It is aged in French oak for nine months prior to bottling.
An intense aroma of dried violets and potpurri introduces the nose of this wine. Inviting notes of vanilla, caramel, and toast frame ripe and seductive hints of plums, figs, and a dense mixed berry tone.
The palate opens immediately with great structure and acidity. Juicy, ripe fruit tones that match the ones found on the nose coupled with a firm minerally and oak based grip give this wine incredible balance. Notes of vanilla, cream, and cinnamon appear towards the end, giving way to a complex blend of poptpurri and dried fruits. Although fascinating now, this wine has what it takes to come together even stronger and evolve to greater heights with five to ten years of cellaring.
If you like… bold, plush wines with lots of fruit, depth, and complexity, well made Petite Sirah, Portuguese reds, or reds made with Leon’s better known varietal, Mencia, this wine is a great value (4/5) that offers a totally unique drinking experience for a great price.