After much planning and deliberation, I bring you the Throwdown! A Throwdown occurs when I get to taste two wines head-to-head, and today I’m tasting two challengers from Spain, both made from an early-ripening grape called Tempranillo. I’ll be tasting a 2008 Radio Boca Tempranillo and a 2007 Volver Tempranillo, both purchased at World Market. Let’s see how these two wines measure up, and see which one emerges victorious!
2008 Radio Boca Tempranillo
Region: Valencia, Spain
Price: $6.99 at World Market
Sight: Very light translucent red
Smell: Really fragrant, big open nose of candied cherry, chocolate, a little basil
Taste: Black cherry, strawberry, lean and focused, a little herbal
Overall: This wine has a great mouthfeel— it is lean, light, and sleek without being wimpy. It’s so fruit-forward that it almost gives the impression of sweetness, but the tannins are present enough to maintain a dry little bitterness. There is some basil on the nose that translates to an herbal component in the flavor. The ripe red fruit gets a little cough syrupy on the finish, which might suggest that the fruit is a little over-extracted for some people’s palates, though I very much enjoy it. This wine makes me want to sink my teeth into a bowl of cooked vegetables—I’m thinking ratatouille, sweet carrots, kabobs, or vegetable stew. This is a great red wine for the summer; it is incredibly light and at the same time full of flavor. People who like California fruit-driven wines would love this, and at $6.99, this wine is a great value and I’m just in love with its simplicity and harmony.
2007 Volver Tempranillo
Region: La Mancha, Spain
Price: $12.99 at World Market
Sight: Ruby red
Smell: Dark fruit, smoke, incense, a little gamey
Taste: Blackberry, blueberry, slate, fennel, gripping tannins, full body
Overall: This wine is dynamic. I feel like an entire story unfolds between the attack, the mid-palate, and the finish. Stand outside when it’s hot until you’re sweating, light some incense, stir some gravel around in your blackberry jam, dump in some dried herbs from your spice cabinet, and you’ve got the Volver! The nose is downright seductive, and the flavor is deep and delicious, with a lot of attitude. The flavors are dark: dark fruit, dark dried greens, and stone. I would love to try this again with some pork or a cut of char-grilled steak.
Out of the two wines, the one that I can see the majority of my friends and family enjoying is the Radio Boca. It’s a very delicious, likable, everyday wine that I would highly recommend serving because of its great value and full flavor. The luscious fruit makes it an instant charmer, and if it came to sitting around and enjoying a wine all by itself, I know a lot of people would find it an easy drinker. However, the Volver—unlike Radio Boca—is so much more than its fruit. The serious minerality of the Volver lends it greater maturity and complexity, not to mention fuller body, enabling it to probably pair well with even heartier foods. The Volver tastes more Old World, like I expected a wine from Spain to taste, unlike the Radio Boca, who seems more New World in its approach. I appreciate the Radio Boca’s balance and accessibility, but the Volver definitely packs more presence, strength, and punch.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed both wines, I have to acknowledge the 2007 Volver Tempranillo as the winning wine in this throwdown. If these wines were people, the Radio Boca is a flirt, and the Volver is a fiancé—a flirt is fun, but the fiancé has the winning character!