On the eve of spring several more inches of snow fell on the mean streets of Saint Paul. (Spring, please! I am ready for rosé!) But what better way to spend a late winter night than curled up with the man of my dreams with a pizza & a bottle of Spanish wine?
The Tinto Pesquera comes at you like a torero in Spanish leather, a wash of iron and mineral in the glass, something animal-like rising like duende to hit the senses. This is a big, beefy bottle of Tempranillo that smacks with these great non-fruit elements. But the fruit is just as present: bold, bright pie cherry, raspberry jam and bramble linger on your front teeth leaving a layer of fruit-tannic evidence. The 18 months in French, Spanish and French oak show off more on the finish adding another layer of complexity, body and heft. Decanted for only 40 minutes, this wine could use a little more coaxing towards its full potential. I’d let this relax for several hours next time. More decanting time would help soften these rustic layers, but this is my kind of wine, and has been on my list of favorites for years, ever since I served it at Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia. I lived in Spain for a year, and this region was just north of Salamanca. I was too young & obtuse to really appreciate wine at that time, and trust me, regret not investing more of my early 20s drinking the wines of Castilla y Leon. I also regret not learning how to dance Flamenco or fully appreciating the siesta. So this wine has a strong emotional presence with me.
We ordered pizza: classic margherita and speck with pear. I love pizza & I love wine, but this wine deserves some real bull to tangle with. Think hunky shortribs, cured spicy meats, stinky cheeses, fat and the richest of pastas. We spent $30 at Total Wines, usually I see this wine around $32-36. Alejandro Fernandez basically revitalized wine production in Ribera del Duero, and his other labels are definitely worth seeking out. Condado de Haza and Dehesa La Granja are two other favorites. Salud!