Vinas del Cenit "Villano" Tempranillo 2012
I'm not usually a sucker for labels. In fact, I tend to avoid wines that have goofy names or funky labels, with a few exceptions of course. I was scanning the Spain section in a wine store when my eyes fell on Villano. Something about the comically shady gentleman must have evoked memories of childhood cartoons because I chuckled, checked the grape variety to make sure it was satisfactory, and purchased it.
This wine is made with 100% Tempranillo and is from Castilla y Leon in Spain, a large region that includes the Duero Valley and is a neighbor to Rioja. Its geographical indication is Vino de la Tierra (VdlT), which is two levels below that of DO. What does this mean? Allow me to translate this wine jibberish for you!
TLDR, the quality and production requirements are lower for Vino de la Tierra regions.
VdlT: The wine has characteristics unique to the region. A minimum of 85% of the grapes stated on the label must come from that region and the production must take place there.
VCIG: A relatively new category (at least in terms of the wine industry), VCIG was introduced to provide a level between VdlT and DO. The requirements are less strict than the DO category.
DO: The characteristics and quality of the wine are derived from the specific environment of the region. There are also strict quality requirements and only approved grape varieties can be used for the production of wine. 100% of the grapes stated on the label must be from the region and the production must take place there as well. In Spain, a region must hold lower status levels for a minimum period of time before being considered for promotion to that of DO. An example of a DO is Ribera del Duero.
Above DO is DOCa/DOQ: These regions must hold DO status for at least 10 years before being promoted to the prestigious level of DOCa/DOQ. There are currently only two DOCa/DOQ: Rioja and Priorat.
My hopes were not high for Villano, but I was willing to take a chance with this caped fellow. The wine was aromatic with notes of black cherry, ripe strawberry, blackberry, nutmeg, black pepper, and smoke. The intense character is likely due to the old Tempranillo vines. The palate however, was a little shaky and unbalanced with astringent tannins and a very high alcohol that had a noticeable burn. Despite these qualities, the wine remained juicy and I tasted blackberry, black cherry, sweet spices, black pepper, and it had a little meaty character on the finish. The wine was better than I thought it would be, but it wasn't amazing and seemed overpriced. It gets a middle-ish thumb from me. I wish there was an emoji for that.
Vinas del Cenit "Villano" Tempranillo 2012: Decent, middle-ish thumb $16.99