Get in Early on Oregon Tempranillo

Abacela Vineyards, Umpqua Valley, Oregon

While everyone and their wine-loving aunt Jeannie are busy going gaga for Oregon Pinot Noir and, increasingly Chardonnay (both deserving to be sure), another grape has slowly been building a track record that is now too good to ignore. Oregon Tempranillo deserves your attention, but give it quietly please — it’s generally still an amazing bargain, thanks to being largely off the radar for most wine lovers, even those who live in Oregon.

Oregon Tempranillo languishes in obscurity primarily due to the fact that with a couple of notable exceptions, it’s largely been planted in the wine growing areas of Oregon that are not the superstar successful Willamette Valley. But in places like the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley, this Spanish grape variety has convinced many a winemaker of its virtues. Now it simply has to convince consumers — no mean feat when most of the airtime for Oregon Wine is sucked up by its Burgundian cousins.

I first tasted Oregon Tempranillo when a bottle arrived on my doorstep perhaps 7 years ago. Unlooked for and unannounced, bearing the name of a winery I had never heard of, this bottled did what I hope for whenever I pull out an unsolicited wine sample and pop the cork: it amazed me. The wine was true to its varietal character, balanced, and tasty. Epic? No. But good enough for me to ask under my breath, “who the heck is Abacela Vineyards and what on earth are they doing growing Tempranillo in Oregon.”

Back then, a lot of people were probably asking Earl Jones that question. Maybe even Earl himself. In 1993, he moved his family to Southern Oregon and planted 12 acres of Tempranillo, having convinced himself that the climate was perfect for growing the grape that, in his opinion, no one had ever gotten right in America.

“At the time, California had 535 acres of Tempranillo, and all but one were in the Central Valley,’ says Jones. “There was one acre in Napa. I tasted that wine in barrel, and said, ‘Hmm, thats pretty good,’ but then I said to myself ‘I believe I can do better.’

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Tempranillo ready for harvest, Weisinger Vineyards

Tempranillo, from the Spanish temprano which means early, is one of the world’s most planted grape varieties, hovering somewhere in the 4th to 6th range in terms of global acreage. It lives up to its name by ripening a full 2 weeks or more earlier than many of its red cousins — most notably Grenache — with which it is often paired in several famous wine regions of Spain, including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Toro. It has been cultivated in these areas, as well as in Portugal for several hundred years, but recent DNA evidence also shows that it has had a somewhat long foothold in southern Italy (Toscana and Baslicata) under the name Malvasia Nera. It was formally introduced to California in 1905 by Frederic Bioletti, but it may have arrived earlier, mixed with various Spanish and Italian varieties planted by early Italian immigrants in the Sierra Foothills. It has since spread to Washington State and Idaho, though quite possibly this is due entirely to Jones’ success with the grape.

In the late 80s, after a long academic and research career in cellular biology and immunology, Jones saw the proverbial writing on the wall when it came to the future of the healthcare system and the academic world that fed it. At 52, and not yet ready to retire, he decided to set himself to solving what he felt was the mysterious lack of decent American Tempranillo, by then his favorite grape.

“I thought I had some decent insights from the time I spent in Spain,’ says Jones who managed several visits for business and pleasure while still teaching and doing research. “All the books say soil is most important in determining terroir, but I believe that’s largely bullshit. Climate is the obvious dominant feature. Soil plays a role, no doubt, but it is not the most important thing. When I saw Alejandro Fernandez making arguably a better Tempranillo in alluvial deposits on a river 150 miles from Rioja, and then saw the weather station data from there and from La Granja showing the same growing degree days and six month season, I said to myself it’s environmental, and that’s that.’

Armed with this insight, Jones researched regions from South Africa to South America to the West Coast, where he felt there was strong potential. After dismissing Walla Walla, Washington and Idaho for their winter freezes — ‘More than 10 days below ten degrees and you’ll kill Tempranillo vines” says Jones — he settled on Oregon’s Umpqua River Valley.

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Vineyards in the Umpqua Valley (Courtesy of Umpqua Valley Winegrowers)

“There were six wineries in the Umpqua at that time, and before I made the trip out, I bought all their wines and had them shipped to me and I was really disappointed,’ recalls Jones. “I didn’t know much about winemaking but I knew good wine, and they weren’t very good. But on one of my exploratory trips to the Northwest, I bought every local wine I found in a grocery store and one of them, a Merlot was good, and that told me it was possible.”

Two years after that Merlot, and having found a farmer willing to unload 500 acres at the price Jones was willing to pay for 50, he moved to the region and planted vines armed with the best ideas his own research and theories would permit. At the time, the roughly 20 vineyards and six wineries operating in the region were focused on the big five international varieties — Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet and Merlot. Jones likes to tell the story of attending a local wine group meeting and telling one inquisitive woman what he was planting.

“At the end of the evening, some guy came up to me and said, ‘Mr. Jones, you do realize that wine grapes are permanent plantings — you can’t temporarily plant them.’ it was like a kids game of telephone among people who hadn’t really ever heard of Tempranillo.”

Jones is proud to have pioneered a grape that has become something of a signature for the region, albeit a quiet one. Roughly fifty wineries now produce Tempranillo across several different growing regions across the state: Applegate Valley, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Rogue Valley, Umpqua Valley, Walla Walla, and even the Willamette Valley. Most producers farm less than 5 acres, and only ten or so of those make more than 1000 cases of the grape per year.

Over the years, Abacela has continued to send me samples now and again, and I’ve watched the wines mature into self-assured deliciousness, thanks to the efforts of winemaker Andrew Wenzl and his partner in farming, Greg Jones, Earl’s son.

So when the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance asked me to come up and taste through their wines to both educate myself and give feedback to the winemakers, I was very pleased to accept. I spent an afternoon tasting through many flights of wines along with my fellow visiting critics, wine writer Mike Dunne and Bree Boskov, MW.

What does Oregon Tempranillo taste like, you ask? I have a couple of ways of answering that question. I made tasting notes on the forty-some-odd wines that I tasted while I was there and have posted those below. For fun, I also dumped my tasting notes into a word cloud generator to see what kinds of themes emerged. After deleting a lot of common words and tweaking some variables, it was interesting to see how things sorted out.
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My tasting notes

I showed my cloud to the organizers and they got kind of excited about it, so with the permission of my fellow critics, I also made word clouds from their notes, as well as a combined cloud that integrated all three of our notes.
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Mike Dunne’s notes

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Bree Boskov’s notes

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A combined cloud of all three of our notes

I don’t find these clouds particularly profound, nor surprising in their similarities and differences across three professional tasters, but they’re a fun little exercise that can reveal some interesting traits.

More deliberately, let me say that Oregon Tempranillo seems to have quickly moved through or altogether avoided the trap that snares many burgeoning wine regions in their early days. The state of Idaho provides an unusually interesting comparison by way of illustrating this point. Idaho’s Snake River AVA has also found that Tempranillo may be a very suitable, even successful grape in that region.

My own tastings have led me to share that opinion. However I have also found that Idaho Tempranillos (and indeed most of the wines I’ve tasted from Idaho) suffer from too heavy a hand in their making. The wines are often slaked in oak, over-extracted, sometimes picked too ripe, and show generally disjointed characteristics.

The causes of these shortcomings are likely myriad, ranging from inexperienced winemaking, a lack of understanding of the site or grape, or simply people just trying too hard to match their notions of what makes for “fine” wine. I’ve seen such issues in many up-and-coming regions such as Colorado, Texas, Arizona and more, to the point that I consider them pretty typical growing pains for a new region.

The Tempranillos of Southern Oregon occasionally show some of these mistakes, to be sure, but on the whole, I was very impressed with the balance, ripeness, use of oak, acidity levels, and overall character of these wines. Many of the best wines had a lovely black tea or smoky character that I enjoyed greatly (and which appears somewhat prominently in the word clouds above), along with their cherry fruit. In a brief survey conducted at the event, more than 72% of the winemakers present reported using 25% or less new oak for their wines, 84% of them age their wines for more than 12 months in barrel, and 38% age their wines for more than 18 months in barrel. Most use commercial yeasts and almost every winemaker adds acid to their wines.

In our discussions, my colleague Bree Boskov noted that many of the Tempranillos we tasted were 100% varietal bottlings. She rightly suggested that more winemakers could consider bolstering acidity with some of the grapes used for just such a purpose in Spain. I would also love to see more winemakers using native yeast fermentations instead of commercial yeasts.

But these are often the luxuries of self-assured winemakers resting upon a foundation of solid market demand, something that Oregon Tempranillo may not yet fully have. Which means you have a chance to get in on the secret early.

TASTING NOTES

Below are the tasting notes for every Oregon Tempranillo I had the pleasure of tasting a few weeks ago at the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance tasting. They were tasted blind in flights of five or so wines over the course of several hours. Alcohol levels, along with other identifying information, were provided after the fact. Other than editing my notes for grammar, and grouping the wines by ratings, I have made no changes to the thoughts I recorded while tasting.

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9

2015 Abacela – Reserve Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and black cherry. In the mouth, muscular tannins surround a core of cherry and black cherry fruit that is bright with excellent acidity. Nice black tea notes swirl in the background as a faint citrus hint touches the finish. Excellent. 14.9% alcohol. Cost: $49. click to buy.

2015 2Hawk Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of slightly grapey cherry and black fruits. In the mouth, very faint tannins surround a core of bright cherry fruit that is tinged abacela_reserve_temp.jpgwith sweet black tea. Very pretty, with excellent acidity and nice length. A touch of mocha on the finish. Delicious. 13.8% alcohol.

2014 Castillo de Feliciana Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cedar and black tea. In the mouth, flavors of black tea and cherry and mocha are wrapped in a fleecy blanket of tannins. Good acidity keeps the wine bright and fresh as mocha and oak flavors linger in the finish. The wood is present here but pretty well integrated. Is this Abacela? 14.0% alcohol.

2014 Red Lily “Life of Riley” Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and black tea. In the mouth, juicy black cherry and black tea notes are draped in a thick fleecy blanket of tannins. Excellent acidity makes for a bouncy mouthful and faint notes of mocha in the finish speak to particularly well integrated wood. Very nice. Includes 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.3% alcohol. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2014 Schmidt Family Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cedar and a touch of leather. In the mouth, aromatically sweet flavors of cherry and cedar and herbs have a wonderful texture that adds a rustic honesty to this wine. Perhaps unfined and unfiltered? Fine grained, powdery tannins, excellent acidity and the merciful absence of overt oak influence make me like this wine a great deal. 14.4% alcohol. Cost: $42. click to buy.

2014 Red Lily “Red Blanket” Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and tea and a touch of herbs. In the mouth, black cherry and black tea flavors mix with a hint of cedar and leather. Muscular tannins buff the edges of the palate and linger with a hint of citrus peel in the finish. Very nice. Includes 19% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.0% alcohol. Cost: $22. click to buy.

2013 Foon Estate Vineyard Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Dark ruby in the glass, with a hint of purple still lingering, this wine smells of forest floor and dried flowers and cherry. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and leather and herbs and forest floor have a nice powdery tannic backbone and excellent acidity. This wine tastes like it has some bottle age to it, and is quite pretty for it. 13.5% alcohol.

2015 Stone Griffon Tempranillo, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium ruby in the glass with some purple still remaining at the core, this wine smells of sandalwood and red fruits and dried flowers. In the mouth, the wine is quite lithe and light on its feet, with more ethereal flavors of cherry and sandalwood and dried herbs. But the tannins grow in strength as the wine passes over the palate and linger with suede texture and notes of bergamot in the finish. Pretty. Excellent acidity. 14.0% alcohol.

NV EdenVale Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in the glass, but headed towards ruby, this wine smells of cherry and tea and cedar. In the mouth, cherry and cedar flavors are quite smooth and velvety, with powdery, ethereal tannins that buff the edges of the mouth. Good acidity and very nice balance. I wonder if this wine has a bit of age on it. 15.5% alcohol.

2016 Belle Fiore Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and black tea with hints of flowers. In the mouth, dark and powerful flavors of black cherry and black tea are wrapped in a skein of muscular tannins with a fine, powdery texture. Broad shouldered and powerful, this wine nonetheless has the acidity to be very drinkable. Notes of tea and citrus peel linger in the finish. Unknown alcohol. Cost: $49.

WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9

2015 Coventina Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of oak and cherry. In the mouth, juicy cherry and berry flavors mix with a coffee and mocha note. Good acidity and a sense of slightly elevated alcohol, but quite tasty. foon_temp.jpgWell integrated wood. 13.7% alcohol. .

2015 Weisinger – Reserve Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and mocha. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and mocha and a touch of coconut have very faint powdery tannins and a medium-bodied, lithe character. Light on its feet. Very pretty, but with a distinct American oak signature that somewhat upstages the fruit. Nonetheless, tasty. 14.0% alcohol. .

2015 Coventina – Reserve Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cola and cedar. In the mouth, bright cherry and cedar flavors have a dusting of powdery tannins, and a nice bounce thanks to excellent acidity. Good length and very nice balance, with a mocha finish that even leans a little minty. 13.5% alcohol. .

2009 EdenVale Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and plum and grapey cedar. In the mouth, particularly juicy flavors of cherry and plum and boysenberry have a sweet oak note that lingers through the finish as the tannins gain stiffness. Excellent acidity. The fruit is slightly candied, but overall this is an excellent and tasty mouthful. 16.0% alcohol. . Cost: $65. click to buy.

2016 Triple Oak Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and plum and a bit of cedar. In the mouth, bright cherry and cedar flavors have a light cola and mocha note to them and are bouncy with excellent acidity. A nice cola note lingers in the finish. Faint tannins gain strength as the wine lingers on the palate. This is very easy to drink. Well-integrated oak stays very unobtrusive in the wine. 13.9% alcohol. .

2017 Triple Oak Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and dried herbs and tea. In the mouth, bright cherry and black tea flavors have a nice floral note to them, wrapped as they are in suede-like tannins that gain muscle as the wine finishes with cherry and cola notes. Excellent acidity. 13.5% alcohol. .

2016 Plaisance Ranch Tempranillo, Applegate Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and violets. In the mouth, rich black cherry flavors mix with a touch of tea and herbs. Thick fleecy tannins flex their muscles as the wine finishes with a bit of a citrus note. Powerful, and needs a little time. Includes 8% Merlot. 13.5% alcohol. .

2016 Weisinger Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of oak and dark fruit. In the mouth, juicy black cherry and black tea flavors have a wonderful silky texture to them, and are backed by fine-grained muscular tannins. Nice floral notes linger in the finish. There’s a distinct oak signature to this wine, but it does not overpower the fruit, despite being more prominent than I would like. Less wood, more of that beautiful fruit please. Still, a very tasty mouthful. 14.2% alcohol. .

2015 Belle Fiore Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Inky, opaque garnet in the glass, this wine smells of boysenberries and blueberry pie. In the mouth, rich blueberry and black cherry fruit has a nice brightness to it thanks to excellent acidity. Powdery tannins flex their muscles in the background with the scent of graphite lingering a bit in the finish, but definitely letting the dark, powerful fruit take the stage. Unknown alcohol. . Cost: $49.

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5

2015 Pebbleston Cellars Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a shy nose. In the mouth, bright red fruits have a faint tangy funkiness. In the mouth, bright cherry and sandalwood fruit has an increasing grip on the palate. Faint cedar notes linger in the finish with a hint of mocha. Excellent acidity. 14.1% alcohol.

2015 Stone Griffon – Reserve Tempranillo, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry fruit and a touch of wet leaves. In coventina_temp.jpgthe mouth, bright cherry and cedar notes are draped in a sneaky blanket of tannins that gain strength as the wine finishes. Lively and light on its feet, but the tannins add some seriousness. 14.0% alcohol.

2015 Plaisance Ranch Tempranillo, Applegate Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of grapey boysenberry and black cherry. In the mouth, black cherry fruit has a faint vegetal quality that hangs in the background. Faint tannins wrap around the core of fruit. There’s a brightness to the finish that is nice. Good acidity. Includes 10% Syrah. 14.0% alcohol.

2014 Red Lily Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and earth and wood. In the mouth, fine grained tannins wrap around a core of cherry fruit that is tinged with oak. Though a bit strong, the wood is well integrated and smooth, and leaves a slight bourbon quality in the finish. American oak? 14.6% alcohol. Cost: $35. click to buy.

WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5

2016 Holloran – Stafford Hill Tempranillo, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet felt and red fruit. In the mouth, mellow flavors of cherry and other red fruits have a subdued and earthy touch. Good acidity and a medium-bodied feel, but missing some intensity and complexity. 13.8% alcohol. . Cost: $ . click to buy.

2016 Naked Winery “Oh! Orgasmic” Tempranillo, Columbia Gorge, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass this wine smells of wet wood and red fruit. In the mouth, wet wood and cherry fruit is somewhat subdued but has a nice earthy aspect. Good acidity and length but missing some dynamism. Includes 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.4% alcohol. . Cost: $80. click to buy.

2016 Holloran Tempranillo, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet oak and red fruits. In the mouth, sweetish flavors of mocha and cherry have a bright acidity and surprising lack of tannic backbone. Rare for me to want tannins but this needs more. Excellent acidity. Lacking in complexity and a bit too much wood. 14.3% alcohol. .

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8

2016 Nicole Reese Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of red fruit and a touch of mocha. In the mouth, bright cherry and cocoa powder flavors are nicely non-oak-inflected character, with hints of peanut butter. Missing some complexity and depth. 12.3% alcohol.

2014 Foon Estate Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and wet wood and a hint of earth and raisins. In the mouth, flavors of dried fruit and cherries and raisins have a bright and bouncy acidity to them, wrapped as they are in a gauzy blanket of tannins. Somewhat dried out. 13.7% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7 AND 7.5

2015 Kriselle Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of struck match and red fruits. In the mouth, red fruit flavors are somewhat pinched between tight tannins. Decent acidity but slightly narrow in character. 14.9 alcohol. .

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7

2012 South Stage Cellars Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and grapey boysenberry. In the mouth, grapey boysenberry flavors have too much jamminess for my taste. Low typicity. 14.4% alcohol.

2016 Schultz Tempranillo, Applegate Valley, Oregon
Inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of grapey black cherry and boysenberry. In the mouth, lush black and red fruits have a light tannic grip to them and a more simplistic grapey character that is pleasant but not compelling. Good acidity. 13.5% alcohol.

2015 Abacela – Fiesta Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine has somewhat muted aromas of cherry and sawdust. In the mouth, cherry fruit flavors are bright and even a little lean, but wrapped tightly in a skein of muscular tannins. Good acidity but somewhat compressed and narrow. 14.2% alcohol.

2015 Weisinger Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mocha and sweet oak. In the mouth, what would likely be very pretty cherry fruit is mostly overshadowed by the sweet mocha and vanilla notes of oak, which also lends its drying tannins to the overall impression of just too much wood on this wine. Decent acidity and length. 14.0% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 6.5 AND 7

2015 Schmidt Family Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of boysenberry and blueberries. In the mouth, the wine is very grape-soda in flavor with hints of cherry. Good acidity, and faint tannins but not much typicity or complexity. 14.8% alcohol. .

2016 Ryan Rose Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a slightly shy nose of wood and red fruits. In the mouth, the wine is light on its feet, with faint tannins and good acidity but unfortunately the dominant flavor in the wine seems to be wood. Faint red fruits poke through sweet oak flavors a little, but this is all sweet vanilla oak. 14.0% alcohol.

2017 Silvan Ridge #3 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of lots of new oak. In the mouth, the wine is basically in an oak straightjacket. What would clearly be pretty cherry fruit is obliterated by new French oak. Good acidity, but c’mon! Stop abusing your fruit!!! Alcohol unknown.

2013 South Stage Cellars Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of grapes and prunes and raisins. In the mouth, flavors of dried red and black fruit have a vegetal and herbal edge that turns slightly menthol in the finish. Odd. Decent acidity. 14.5% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 6

2017 Silvan Ridge #1 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of slightly vegetal aromas. In the mouth, vegetal flavors and red fruits take on a slightly bitter edge. Faint tannins grab the edges of the mouth.

2017 Silvan Ridge #2 Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark, cloudy garnet in color, this wine smells of oak and red and black fruits. In the mouth, the dominant flavor is oak, which all but obliterates the fruit with sweet mocha flavors. Overdone. Not great acidity either.

2016 Naumes Family Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and basically nothing but. In the mouth, it’s a New French Oak cocktail with the pretensions of fruit. Decent acidity. Mouth-drying tannins that clearly come from the barrel. Ugh. 13.8% alcohol.

2016 2Hawk Tempranillo, Rogue Valley, Oregon
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of oak and black cherry. In the mouth, black cherry flavors have a hard time surfacing in the sea of new oak, whose tannins dry out the mouth and leave it parched. Too much wood. Can’t taste the fruit, really. Decent acidity 13.2% alcohol.

2009 Abacela Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Very dark, almost inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of stewed prunes and raisins. In the mouth, dried black cherry fruit is matched with slightly drying tannins for a flat, dried out feeling with a hole in the middle palate. Overdone and not recommended. Picked too late, I suspect. 14.3% alcohol.