Key West Vino
The hubs and I just returned from vacation in Key West, FL. This was our first child-less vacation (my parents stayed with the bubs for the week). While it was hard to be away from the little guy, it was really nice for the hubs and I to have some time together and sleep in! We rarely have a date night these days, so 7 in a row called for a lot of great food and wine. And now we're on a clean eating cleanse.
There were two wines that stood out to us the most during the trip. Surprisingly, we ended up drinking a lot of red wines despite the 88+ degree temperature and 90% humidity.
First, was a Lapostolle Grand Selection Carmenere 2012. We enjoyed this at an unassuming little wine and cigar bar called Cork and Stogie. Fun fact: Carmenere is a varietal that was originally grown in Bordeaux, but after phylloxera destroyed the vines there, it turned up in Chile and was mistaken for Merlot until it was correctly identified in 1994. Now it is the signature variety of Chile and the warm, sunny climate allows this grape to perform brilliantly. This particular Carmenere packed a lot of flavor and had nice layers of spice, herbs, black pepper, and ripe black fruits. And look, dogs! I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for this as an everyday wine when I pop into my usual wine stores.
The next wine that made an impression on me was a Torres Celeste Crianza Ribera del Duero 2011 that we ordered at our favorite restaurant of the trip - Santiago's Bodega. It's a Spanish fusion tapas restaurant and the food was so good that we dined there twice, over-ordered each time, ate every bite, and I waddled out of there like I was 9 months pregnant. For one of our meals there, I chose a Ribera del Duero because I thought it would pair best with the various cheeses and beef dishes that we ordered, especially because of the heavy Spanish influence. The wine is made with 100% Tempranillo and was very tasty! It had a firm acidity and mild but chewy tannins. Both of which are not easily attained by the Tempranillo grape, as it is naturally low in acidity and thick skinned (which translates to higher levels of tannin). It requires a balance of warm days, cool nights and/or altitude to retain its acidity. The wine showed notes of red cherry, strawberry, raspberry, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and a scent that I've become very familiar with on this vacation - eucalyptus. I spent much of the afternoons on the beach with a frozen eucalyptus towel draped over my face to keep myself from bursting into flames. Tres fancy.
Key West offers some great wines at many of their restaurants (most notably Louie's Backyard and Santiago's Bodega) and certainly at their wine bars. If you find yourself in this little paradise, you can be awash with great wine if you so choose. Try these wines and visit the Keys.
I prefer to give you retail prices for the wines that I feature on my blog, so the prices below are a range of what I was able to find online.
Lapostolle Grand Selection Carmenere 2012: Great everyday choice $10 - $12
Torres Celeste Ribera del Duero 2011: A very good, nicely done Ribera del Duero $18 - $23