Artero 2010 Tempranillo is yet more proof of the amazing versatility of the tempranillo grape. It also costs less than eight dollars a bottle.
Go to the Spanish wine aisle in just about any wine shop and you are bound to see all sorts of wines--Riojas, Tarragonas, Riberas del Duero, and many more--all made with tempranillo or tempranillo-blends, but all completely different from each other. Artero 2010 Tempranillo from La Mancha is no exception. If anything, it's an even more unusual example of tempranillo than most.
Riojas and tempranillo-based Navarras often combine a light, strawberry acidity with oak and vanilla flavors. Good Toros, also based on tempranillo (though there is some debate about this) are powerful, extremely dry, but balanced. Then there are the oceans of tempranillo-based table wines that taste like ordinary table wines. I find that many of the inexpensive Yeclas and Jumillas fall into this last category.
Artero Tempranillo from La Mancha lies at another extreme of the tempranillo spectrum.
It's almost sweet.
It's not overpoweringly sweet (like the new Spanish "moscatos" I recently posted about) nor is it dessert wine, but it has hints of dried fruits and at least some of their sweetness.
This is the sort of wine I would have with nuts and cheese as an evening tapa, almost as though it were port. It's certainly not port, but it is close enough to be enjoyed in a similar way. With 14% alcohol, it's nearly as strong as port too.
When I first tried this tempranillo from La Mancha, I was shocked. Once I got over that, I found that I liked it.