My wine this month is a Rioja, Langaza 2001 by Telmo Rodríguez. To select the wine, I made a trip to my favorite wine store in Seattle, Pike and Western Wines, and asked for a recommendation. I have to admit I was also influenced by the cool label art. It was priced around $22.00.
There were no tasting notes on the label. It took a bit of searching to find something on the wine. I did find some notes from Wine Spectator.
"This plush red is rich with chocolate-scented oak, which enrobes ripe fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry. Full tannins give way and spicy chocolate notes linger on the finish." Rated: 87 points.
I did find more on the wine maker, Telmo Rodríguez. He is one of the new young generation of winemakers in Spain.
He is the former winemaker from Remelluri and is now involved with many project throught the wine regions in Spain. He makes three Riojas, Altos Langaza, Langaza and LZ. The August 2000 Wine Enthusiast Magazine has a good quote on his philosophy on making great wines. Here in the US, his white Rueda Basa has been written up several times as a good inexpensive white.
I took the wine to a lamb roast this weekend. It paired well with the roast lamb and spicy Paella. I didnt like the wine much at first. There was a strong woody flavor to start. Several of the other tasters felt it was "stemmy". This rough flavor eased a bit after it had been opened and more of the berry ahd fruit tones emerged. But it never really lost the woody earthy flavor. It had good tannins and would have improved with a year or two of aging. Overall, it was not bad but I wouldn't go out of my way to select it again.
The lamb roast is an annual event. The organizer started the tradition in California in the mid-70's and has held it for friends every year. I've met the organizer through our wine tasting group (friend of a friend) and I've only made it the last three years.
The lamb is purchased as three boneless roasts. Garlic is poked through the roast and the outside is wrapped with stems of rosemary. It is then roasted outdoors over a large dirt pit which is lined with cinder block.
The roasts are skqered on large polls of rebar. Blocks of wood at put at the end of the rebar to turn the roasts. They are roasted until rare internal temperature. It is then set aside to rest while the Paella is made over the coals. The chorizo from the Spanish Table was the star ingredient.
Great food and wine. The perfect way to end summer and welcome fall.
More lamb roast pictures on SlowTrips Website