A few weeks ago I had a brilliant idea for a series of blog posts. The idea is for me to go around to charming little wine shops on my travels and ask the wine friends working there to participate in my challenge. The challenge is to recommend their favorite and/or best bottle $25 or under. Then I’ll take the wine home, take a few photos, drink a few glasses, and blog about it. Brilliant, right? I thought so.
So I went on my first challenge escapade. A few weeks ago I found myself up in the Litchfield Hills, a quiet beautiful corner of the state riddled with adorable boutique stores and restaurants. I wandered into a little wine shop excited for my first challenge. Given that they had literally just moved, their stock was pretty low, so this may not have been the ideal start to my #Under25Challenge, but c’est la vie.
I told my new #winefriend the parameters of the challenge, and he gave me two choices. One was slightly under $25, and one was slightly higher at $28.99. The under $25 was a personal favorite of his, a red blend from Italy. The other was a 2006 bottle of Spanish goodness, and one that you couldn’t find anymore. This was actually their last bottle. Even though I made up the rules, I promptly broke them when I heard the Spanish wine couldn’t be bought anymore. I guess the new parameter is “around $25”. We’ll see how that works going forward.
Feeling odd buying just one bottle, I also picked up a 2009 Montefalco Sagrantino that I’m epically excited to try. But that will have to wait for another day.
- To: Alleged Blog Readers
Date: December 29, 2015
Wine: Mansion Garrido Vina Centenaria Tinto Exclusivo 2006
This was a complex bottle of wine. It would actually have benefitted from filtering since there was a ton of sediment in the glass after I poured. Raisins, leather and smoke on the nose. The mouth gave way to a bouquet of jammy raisins. Medium-bodied and a bit on the dry side. Excellent with our gourmet meal of beef stew, multigrain bread and sweet potato puree. This was a strong wine and I think it may be too much to drink on its own without some nosh. For the price I paid I was a bit underwhelmed, but it was certainly an experience I enjoyed.
Without the use of The Google, I could not for the life of me figure out what kind of wine this was. I determined that it was from Spain, but I couldn’t discern a varietal. To be fair, there’s a lot going on on this label. The producer, Mansion Garrido, is run by a family that has been making wine on the same property in Fermoselle, Spain for 375 years. The grape, known as Juan Garcia, is an autochthonous grape variety of the Arribes River Canyon within the inland Castile-León region of Spain. This means the grape is indigenous to this area and only grown there. It is also said to have survived the catastrophic phylloxera vine disease due to its protected geographic area within the canyons along the Duero River.
Turns out you can find this wine online for less than what I paid. So for my first #Under25Challenge, I may have been slightly hoodwinked, but at the end of the day, it was a great bottle of wine. It all worked out and now you can try it too since it is not, in fact, an endangered bottle.
 Brilliant may be pushing it, but I think it’s a good idea.
 Read: Expensive.
 Wandered may not be the correct word since I drove around the block four freaking several times and ended up having to actually call to find out where they were located. Turns out they had recently moved around the corner from their old location and Yelp! hadn’t updated their listing. Don’t worry, I sent a note to Yelp! about their snafu.
 Now that I think about it, I think he totally sales-pitched me into the higher priced bottle and I fell for it. #sucker
 Never heard of this? I hadn’t either until we adventured in Umbria, Italy a few years ago. A little known grape that packs the most delicious punch, I can’t wait to tell you about it. #comingsoon
 Note that we drank this out of my new Riedel Heart to Heart glasses I received for Christmas. The glass literally sings. #realcrystal #swoo
 The things Husband did to these potatoes was absolutely sinful.
 I tried it on its own on day 2 and found myself needing a few Christmas cookies to go with it. #ChristmasProblems
 You can find the current owner, Jorge Garrido, on LinkedIn, but only on the Spanish version, so I don’t know how to connect with him. #nohabla
 Remember we talked about this wine disaster? See One of Those Days post, footnote 11.
 Makes sense given the location; see footnote 2, supra.