A glimpse at the past few day’s downpour that I seem to be caught in. I don’t mind it much as the winter rain reminds me of home.
I’m not convinced it’s entirely rational, but I blame the weather for the intense lamb craving I had yesterday. This lead to us gathering the necessary pieces to make fresh oregano and feta lamb burgers, grilled eggplant and sauteed mushrooms. Plus a simple yet delicious salad of spinach, chevre, pecans, and dates. Perfectly comforting.
Fresh oregano for the kill.
Fearing travel in the rain, our wine options were bound to the local grocery store offerings. Thankfully, there are far worse grocery store selections than those of Whole Foods and I found an interesting looking Rioja for $18.99.
LAN 04 Rioja Reserva
80% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 10% Garnacha
Rioja, the Northern Spanish great based around the Tempranillo grape. The word Reserva on the label requires it to be aged for three years before release, one of which in oak casks. Bodegas LAN is no small producer, but they have a reputation for quality and value. Here’s where I’d go into detail on how a great tasting note for Tempranillo is ketchup chips, but few people outside of Canada would know what the hell I was talking about. I feel most people would agree that they don’t really taste much like ketchup.
The LAN was delicious and gave me everything I expected from it, a balance of dark berry fruit with a rustic and earthy edge. Black cherry, blackberry, milk chocolate and the taste of walking a dusty road. The weight is on the plus side of medium, with a complimenting bright acidity and a touch of tannins.
How about with the lamb? Here’s where the LAN fell a touch short. Nothing clashed and the flavours were pleasant, but nothing sang and there were definitely no fireworks. I needed something entirely rustic, meatier, more powerful and with more grippy tannin. Given the chance I would have grabbed for Southern France in a bottle of Minervois or Fitou. Other suggestions?