Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wine Review: Tinto Pagos de Penafiel

          Tinto Pagos de Penafiel is a Spanish red wine produced in the Ribera del Duero, region, and made from the black grape Tinto Fino (a regional version of Tempranillo). Like most Spanish reds, it is very bold and flavorful. Spain has a classification system similar to Italy based on region and quality (and stricter production requirements), but is different in that there is a separate classification for the aging length and method. Ribera del Duero is both a DO, the second highest classification in terms of quality (comparable to Italy’s DOC) and crianza, which means it must be aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak.

          The 2004 Tinto Pagos de Penafiel from the Hijos de Antonio Polo winery is my favorite Ribera del Duero, and one of my very favorite red wines. I’ve only seen it in two wine stores: Ball Square Fine Wines in Somerville and Fifth Ave Liquors in Millis. It’s available by the bottle and half bottle; a bottle is usually in the low twenties and half bottles are around fifteen dollars. The half bottles seem to be more readily available, which are a little pricey, but the wine is absolutely delicious, and has won several awards including a ranking of 90 points by Robert Parker.

          This wine is very rich and complex with notes of dried fruit (I usually taste cherries or berries) and spice, and pairs well with red meats like lamb and steak. I most recently had some with my restaurant week dinner at Tangierino. I had been drinking a cocktail when I ordered my dinner, and didn’t even look at the wine menu (although I often choose my wine and food together). Just before the main course, I decided to switch to red wine, and was psyched to see this on the menu. I ordered the half bottle and it went perfectly with the lamb and seven vegetable couscous.

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