2010 Lemnos ‘Phelenoe’
Lemnos is a Greek island and also a red varietal, one of the oldest in the world. This is a dry white wine with no varietal indication (unless ‘Phelenoe’ is a varietal?). It cost thirteen bucks in a geeky deli in Brunswick, Maine.
Medium straw color. Beautiful subtle aromas with a only a hint of grapefruit, a touch of cactus flower, a note of quince. Light to medium bodied on the palate, it is dry, piquant, vivid, subtle, with appley notes and again a hint of quince, maybe the ghost of a Ranier cherry. Beautiful wine, ridiculous value. If I was a schoolteacher, I’d give it a B+ to A-, or about 90.
2009 Embocadero Ribera del Duero
‘Embocadero’ sounds like some sleazy, made-up name. The Embarcadero is the famous bayfront street of San Francisco (means ‘the place to embark’). ‘Boca’ means mouth. OK, maybe it’s wordplay and not sleazy. Note to self: Be tolerant of wordplay, you’re the guiltiest person on the planet.
The wine ain’t sleazy, that’s for sure. Pure Tempranillo, it’s very dark crimson with aristocratic aromas of black cherry and black plum, with just enough of a mineral component to keep it from cloying. Rich on the palate, but slightly simple with obstreperous black cherries dominating the hint of minerality. There is very good density and nice balance, but some of the aromatic complexity would be welcome on the palate. Still, this is a good wine from a great vintage in northern Spain and it’s still a baby. Teacher sez B to B+, with the potential of an A- a few years down the road. A major wine publication has rated it 90 or better, but no matter what your score still a bargain at $15 in a Brunswick supermarket.