Who the Hell is Robert Andino?

02Apr08

One of the unexpected consequences of tasting a few dozen wines a week is that my preferences are changing. Up until now, I’ve been a fan of what I like to think of  as Wines to Drink with Grilled Leg of Lamb. Dark, high-alcohol, ripe fruit, rustic, with big ol’ tannins. Zinfandel, Primitivo, New World Syrahs, etc. Tonight in class we tasted Spain, where they wrote the book on this kind of thing. 

But about halfway through the wines, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Everything seemed to have a muddy, generic fruit flavor, like a Jamba Juice smoothie. And we’re talking about well-made, pricey, high-quality wines. I suppose I should chalk it up to the rapidly diminishing marginal returns of tasting big wines, but it was disconcerting. It’s as if you had always thought of yourself as a U2 fan, and then one night you’re puttering around your apartment listening to music and then “40” comes on and it’s all you can do not to throw your iPod out the window. Now are you going to have to put the time and effort into learning about another band to replace the U2-shaped hole in your music collection? And does this mean it’s only a matter of time before you stop like all your music? Kind of a bummer, right? (Further bringing me down right now: the Mets just lost in extra innings. And Pedro had to leave the game.)

I’m not really sure what to do about this. But in the name of closing on an up note (and offering actual practical wine advice rather than just random musings), we did taste a Rioja Gran Reserva 1996 CVNE Contino that was pure elegance. If you’re not up for spending $74 on it, I’d still recommend picking up a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva the next time you’re at the wine store, just to have the experience of tasting something with a little age on it. 

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