Tag Archives: Spain

Flaco Tempranillo

Cost: Average price $9

Where buy now: Solo Vino, Zipps Liquors, Sorella Wines & Spirits, Stinson Wines & Spirits

Grapes: Tempranillo

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2011

Flaco Tempranillo

Not only do I have a great Skank pick this month, but I can also tell you how to get your hands on a FREE bottle on November 1st or 2nd!

First, let me talk about Tempranillo. It’s the best goof-proof, budget-friendly wine out there. And by no means is it a one trick pony.  Spain is the largest producer of Tempranillo. These thick-skinned grapes are grown in regions that have hot days followed by cool evenings. This creates a concentrated, yet balanced flavor.

These burly skins make for a tannic wine (tannins = presence of skins, seeds and stems).  It is aged in oak, giving other nuances of flavor, such as vanilla, smoke and wood tannin.

So, pop the Flaco Tempranillo then give it a few to breath. Aromas of plum and earth emerge. Take a sip and you’ll further enjoy not only the plummy, earthy flavors but you’ll also taste a hint of toasty vanilla, green pepper and spice. It’s an agreeable little number.

Tempranillo is typically food-friendly, and this one really benefits from a food pairing. Don’t get me wrong, you can send this baby down the hatch by itself all night if you want. I just think this Flaco comes alive with food. Again: goof-proof.

As the temperatures get cold, more folks are cooking indoors, baking and using their slow-cooker. Drink this wine with your homemade enchiladas or slow-cooked pulled pork. This wine pairs well with BBQ ribs, and most things grilled or roasted. Due to the earthy quality, if you’re a veg, a mushroom risotto- or anything with mushrooms or mushroomy sauce, really- would work splendidly. I have to give my gal, Amanda, a shout out because this wine pairs well with her Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic Soup: http://healthylifehappycook.com/2012/cookingtips/roasted-red-pepper-garlic-soup/Roasted Red Pepper Soup

You know how much I like a good sausage [*ahem*] and this wine pairs really swell with the Moroccan Lamb sausage from Kramarczyk’s. The smoky, earthy wine really compliments the garlicky, earthy lamb sausage. I’m imagining it in my mouth and I can’t think of anything better. I mean it.  


You may already be a winner! No, I’m not knocking at your door with this bottle and lamb sausage, BUT, I’ve partnered with Solo Vino in St. Paul to give you a sweet ass deal:

This Thursday, November 1, and Friday, November 2, stop in to Solo Vino http://www.solovinowines.com/Solo Vino between 5:00-7:30 PM, buy a bottle of wine, any bottle (PS- it’s their Fall Sale where everything is 20% off). At check out, mention that “The Savvy Lush” sent you, and you’ll receive this bottle of Flaco Tempranillo for FREE! While you’re there, Solo Vino will also be tasting other delicious bottles.

So dig this: you’ll visit one of thee best wine shops in the Metro, sample wines, buy the one(s) you like at a discount AND get the Flaco Tempranillo for free! You’d be simply mad not to take advantage of this. Mad I tell you!

Well, that is, unless you hate fun.  I’ve heard about you pricks.

Nora Albariño

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Surdyk’s

Grapes: Albariño

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2010

Nora Albariño

So it was yet another hot weekend, and I was home alone. What’s a girl to do? Well, let me tell you what I did. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I watched the classic 90’s movie “Singles”. This will surely date me, but I don’t care. I totally bought into the grunge era: music, wardrobe, dirty hair and all. I had a bowlful of white gazpacho left and looked into my wine selection. Aha, Nora Albariño, that sounds good. I cued up the movie and garnished my soup with chives, cucumbers and fresh sweet tomatoes. The Albariño was chilled perfectly so pour away I did.

I’m new to Albariño, but know that they can vary in sweetness. It may be “dumbing it down”, but I’d explain it as sitting on the spectrum between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The Nora Albariño definitely sides more toward the acidic & tart variety. I’d liken it to a Sauvignon Blanc, but with a slightly fuller body due to the aging in oak. Also, this is not as thick and syrupy as some Chardonnays, for those who say they don’t like oaked Chards.

This wine was light golden in color and the fragrance included hints of apple, green grapes, peach and herbs. On the palate, citrus fruit, herbs and floral minerality emerge. I did some digging and the vineyard where the grapes are grown are surrounded by pine and eucalyptus. Aha, those scents must waft and swirl around the vines imparting their essence into the grapes. I am not saying you are drinking a glass of gin; but rather suggesting that, beyond the citrus and stone fruit, you get hints of the surroundings that play along.

I continued to enjoy the way the crisp and vibrant Albariño danced in my mouth, and I must say, this went swimmingly with the creamy gazpacho.

White Gazpacho

This taste experience was made even better, as I enjoyed watching a young Eddie Vedder [hey, that kind of rhymed] portray the Citizen Dick drummer, and 20-somethings are “finding themselves” in Seattle set to the sounds of the late 80s-early 90s. I finished the soup but continued sipping the Albariño. I noticed a smile on my face as I was listening to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Jimi Hendrix (yep, from Seattle, and on the must-have soundtrack).

While I’m not rushing to bring back that whole look, I did go in search of my old flannel that I’ve kept in the bottom of a storage box. Some things, like comfy clothes or a good gazpacho/wine pairing, never really go out of style.

Zestos Malvar

Cost: Average price $9.99

Where buy now: Solo Vino, North Loop, Zipp’s, Pairings Food & Wine{jcomments on}

Grapes: Malvar

Region: Madrid, Spain

Vintage: 2010

Zestos Malvar

Pretties, I have a perfect patio palette quencher; a delectable deck dining hooch. I present the wonderful Spanish white wine, Zestos Malvar- yet another discovery from the Rosé Tent Tasting I attended in May (are you seeing why this tasting thing is so damn important?).

I didn’t know what Malvar was.  In fact, I don’t think most folks know much about the Malvar grape as evident by the lack of info I found. Apparently, it is even obscure to Spaniards, though Malvar grapes are indigenous to the Madrid region of Spain. Thankfully, the good people at Zestos realized this, as their back label is one of the most descriptive I’ve ever seen.

Zestos Malvar back label

Their description “the bright flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc and the body of unoaked Chardonnay (aged in stainless steel tanks) is right on the money. It truly embodies the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and a fuller-body like an unoaked Chardonnay. It’s pale yellow color and smells of citrus/tropical fruit such as pineapple, grapefruit and mango are what you take in first and foremost. This may be a stretch but upon second whiff and taste, I notice hints of tapioca. On the tongue, it’s bright citrus flavors are rounded out with a creamier body.

Wait, “creamy” wine with hints of tapioca?  Sounds, well, gross.  Let’s break this down.

“Creamier” refers to a medium-to-fuller bodied wine. I remember when I first started getting into wine and I read things like “creamy body” and I was perplexed. The wine looked yellow to me, not like yogurt. Think of wine’s viscosity or body in terms of the consistency of milk. Skim milk = light bodied such as Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir, whole milk = medium bodied such as Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz and cream = heavy bodied, like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

At a mere $10 (even less on sale) I can hardly call the Zestos Malvar a gamble. This is a fun, simple slurpin’ wine. No need to age, aerate or do anything but enjoy. I think if you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, try it. If you like Chardonnay, oaked or unoaked, try it. If you like to try new things, try it. And in these hot Summer days, who wants something heavy? This is a cellar filler that you’ll return to again and again and enjoy.

My only criticism is that it doesn’t stay with you. The finish disappears after about ten seconds. This is really only a “problem” if you plan to drive later. And really, isn’t it the unspoken truth that sometimes, you just want a tasty budget wine to tie one on with?