Tag Archives: Tempranillo

Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004

Viña Ardanza 2004
Viña Ardanza Reserva 2004


Cost: $35.00

Where buy now: Thomas Liquors

Grapes: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2004


Yo estoy enamorado de vino de Rioja, Viña Ardanza. This baby will set you back a cool $35, but baby, it’s so worth it. I know, I know, my last wine choice was under $10 and this one is more than $30, what gives? All I can say is that my wine drinking habits are about as bipolar as I am. I never said I made sense.


I first experienced this wine last Fall at Terroir in TriBeCa, NYC. We were on vacation, and our mantra: fuck money, let’s do this right. While at the bar, I asked the keep what she’d been drinking lately. The gal poured me a taste of this wine.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “I do like Rioja.”


Swirl, smell, sip.

Swirl, sip.



Eyes rolled back in my head. Hot. Damn.


I asked for a full pour. She advised it was $18 a glass. You know what, I didn’t even balk. Not because I was on vacation, but because it was worth every penny.


A bit surprised, she blessed me with a very generous pour. I savored that pour for a good long while.


It haunted me.


Flash forward three months and I found myself at Thomas Liquors on a Saturday at 9:30 pm,  sneaking in during the last ½ hour of their wine sale. I’m perusing, grabbing comfort bottles here and there. Then, I looked up, and… There it was. Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004, sitting proudly on the top shelf. An overhead bulb mimicked that of a spotlight,  it’s gaze directly showcasing this glorious bottle. As if in a trance, I slowly extended my arm and gently reached for the bottle. Oh, I was so giddy!


I’ve written about other Riojas but not one of this caliber. A quick reminder Rioja is not a grape varietal rather it is wine made with grapes from the La Rioja region of Spain. Grape varietals include: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Macabeo. La Rioja Alta is a winery celebrating 125 years. Back in 1942, they registered Viña Ardanza (now their most famous wine) which is dominantly a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha.


This Rioja has all the moves! The foreplay, the love-making and the knee weakening orgasm all in one bottle. It embodies the weathered love of plump ruby red fruit in concert with rich, supple spice, vanilla and leather. This is balanced out by commanding, yet, soft tannins and a finish that does not over stay it’s welcome. Tastebuds flare in delight as the delicate tannins and acidity create structure telling you this is it – this is THE one. You tenderly swallow this wine, your heavy eyelids falling victim to the Rioja’s seduction. Eyes closed, you pause to catch your breath (not too fast- you don’t want to be selfish). However, your breathing begins to amp up again knowing you get to enjoy this moment over and over and over again (until you drain the bottle dry.)

Need a tissue?

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.

Bodegas San Valero – Manyana

Cost: Average price $6-$7

Where buy now: Haskell’s – $4.99

Grapes: Tempranillo

Region: Carinena, Spain

Vintage: 2010

Bodegas San Valero Manyana

It truly does not get more bang-for-buck than this $4.99 beaut’. Simply put: 100% Tempranillo wine; dark, ruby red in color, with smells of cherries, smoke, maybe a hint of plum. A little fruity, but with a hint of oaky spice, the taste is pleasant and mild. The finish doesn’t last long but, really, who cares? It’s $4.99. (You get an entire 750mL bottle for $4.99.)

If you aren’t a huge wine drinker, pick this up. If you are a huge wine drinker, and you are reading this during liquor store hours, leave now. [Did I mention the $4.99 price tag?] Perhaps it’s just the 2010 vintage, but this sucker goes down easy like a Sunday morning.

This is quite a versatile, medium-bodied red that would go well with typical Minnesota meat and potatoes fare. It would also go well with ribs, pork chops, or tacos. You could enjoy it with some tapas such as olives, almonds and Spanish Serrano ham (Trader Joe’s Serrano would pair nicely on a budget). Or, here’s a great movie snack: a bottle of $4.99 Manyana, a bag of Sweet Potato tortilla chips (on sale at Cub Foods for $2 and change), and mango salsa.

I insisted my husband try this wine immediately after he walked in the door that evening. I’m sure he was thinking “Ah, another cheap wine. Glory.” He took a few sips, and gave me an atypical “what is this?!?!?”. I told him it was $4.99. His next question was “Can we buy a case?” He NEVER asks if we can buy a case. If you didn’t catch this factoid earlier, Manyana Tempranillo costs $4.99.

You are welcome.