What is this curious label? The wine region listed is “Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon,” a reference to a huge — and unremarkable — wine region in central Spain. It doesn’t tell you that the source for this bottling is from the single vineyard of Villanueva de Campean. Originally planted in 1905, it also happens to border the great but unheralded wine region of Toro.
So what do layers of obscurity get you? Well, for the winemaker (a New Zealander, the enologist Leigh Hopkinson), it doesn’t get much. However, it delivers a superb bottle at about a third of what it should cost, quality-wise for the lucky wine shopper.
Very modern in style, with a healthy use of deeply-toasted French oak. The first whiff is a generous scent of A&W Root Beer and Dr. Pepper. The attack is pure savory fruit: black cherry and raspberry jam. It rolls into toasty cinnamon and smokey patchouli by the mid-palate and sideswipes some pencil shavings and vanilla for good measure. The finish is firm with aggressive tannins. Bright red fruit leads to a rockstar finish.
For this wine, offer up a lamb leg braised with shallots and red wine or a rich Ossobucco. You have the extra coin to splurge!