Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Semi-Final # 2 - Spain vs. Italy


Another big showdown in our World Cup of Wine - if Spain and Italy don't count as heavy hitters in the world of red wine, who does?

Spain, of course, is simply mirroring its successful run in the "real" World Cup in South Africa, but can it take out the Italians after they suffered so on the soccer pitch?Knowing that Italian wine might now have to take a back seat to upstarts Spain may just irreparably damage the nation's collective psyche.

If any grape is capable of taking on the weight of a nation, it may well be the Nebbiolo varietal, but the Spanish are on a real roll. We'll only know following a couple glasses.

517. 2008 Bodegas Carchelo - C (D.O. Jumilla - Spain)

518. 2004 Gianluca Viberti Nebbiolo (DOC Langhe - Italy)

Spain. Italy. Blend. Baby Barolo. Too bad we have to pick a winner.

I can't say that I know much about either of these producers. The Carchelo is a very popular wine at Marquis Cellars and the Gianluca Viberti received some good local press a couple of years ago (when I bought this bottle). Both are excellent examples of how labelling has become such an intricate part of trying to sell a bottle of wine - even in the Old World. The Carchelo is striking and eye-catching, while the shot of Gianluca (or whomever) in a vat of grapes to be crushed is intriguing. From a quick look at the Italian website, I dare say the North American label is not the same as the one sported in Italy.

We are, however, about the wine and not the labelling and, once again, Boo and I both chose the same wine as our "winner." This time around wasn't any different from the last couple of taste-offs - both wines were happily consumed, but we both had to admit that the Spanish blend was just more enjoyable than the Nebbiolo. The Carchelo is a blend of Monastrell (Mourvedre), Tempranillo and Cab Sauv (40/40/20) and it may just be an indication that a sum is stronger than individual parts. It may just have been that the blend allowed more complexity and layers than a single varietal could do on its own.

All the same, La Furia Roja ("The Red Fury") seems an appropriate name for the Spanish side because this red takes the day and propels Spain into our Grand Final with its Aussie counterpart - and infuriates one or two Italians at the same time.

Score - 3-1.

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