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The folks at Emperador de Barros have pushed the envelope with their 2009 Emperador de Barros Tempranillo, an exuberant, juicy red wine from 100% Tempranillo vines. Frankly, this wine simply blew us away. Moreover, it reminded several of us of the wonderful Tempranillo wines from La Mancha and Castilla y Leon we tasted on a recent trip to Spain. For starters, the 2009 Emperador Tempranillo is deep purple in color, and it offers an olfactory as rich as its regal robe. Succulent scents of red currant, kirsch, plum, and spice literally pour from the glass. With patience and a little aeration, these heady scents seep inextricably into the center of the wine and emerge full throttle on the palate. Aromatic, heady, and vibrant, the 2009 Emperador de Barros epitomizes the hedonistic style of wine that has emerged recently from heretofore unsung wine producing regions such as the Ribera del Guadiana. Although juicy, balanced and ready to go from the moment it’s poured, the 2009 Emperador Tempranillo will benefit from thirty minutes or more of aeration. But that is only if you can muster enough discipline not to consume the entire bottle straight away. Enjoy this luscious personality filled red as often as you can, but don’t forget to have and extra bottle or two on hand if discipline and fortitude should fail.
Emperador makes wines with good old-fashioned drinking pleasure in mind. Consequently, many kinds of foods pair beautifully with the 2009 Emperador Tempranillo. Some of our preferred pairings are “stick to your ribs” kind of foods and hearty down home favorites. Beef and pork barbecue, thick country stews, and rotisserie cooked chickens with plenty of herbs and seasoning all get our nod, but then so do traditional southern Italian specialties like grilled spicy Italian sausages with peppers and cheese and prosciutto stuffed calzones. We also enjoy the Emperador Tempranillo with marinated flank steak, meatloaf, pork chops, and almost any young cheese, as the 2009 Emperador Tempranillo has enough fruit and tannic backbone to cut through the fat in meat and cheese. Even more rewarding is the amount of flavor the 2009 Emperador Tempranillo packs into its stylish body, which allows it to go high brow when the occasion arises. So, even if fancy fare is in the offering, the 2009 Emperador won’t let you down. Last but not least, a glass of this wine all by itself is a treat, too!
The Bodegas Viticultores de Barros was founded in 1983 by 35 of the top growers from Extremadura's Tierra de Barros region. They pooled their resources to launch the venture. Their aim was to develop the full potential of their vineyards and winemaking and revitalize viticulture in the Tierra de Barros, which had long languished in the shadow of the Rioja and other more celebrated appellations to the north. Thus, the Bodegas Viticultores de Barros was at the forefront of the vitcultural renaissance in Spain that began more than two decades ago.
Today, Bodegas Viticultores de Barros encompasses 1,250 acres of vines. All of the bodegas’ vineyards are grown in the typically deep red clay/chalk soils of the region, which retain the needed moisture for producing balanced fruit in one of Spain's most arid climates. Vintage consistency is nearly a given in the Tierra de Barros and viticulture is organic out of necessity as well as tradition. The dry continental climate of the Barros area of Extremadura and the vineyards’ relatively high altitudes (ranging from 1000 to 1700 feet) help to assure structure and elegance in the wines and limit the need for any chemical intervention.
Bodegas Viticultores’ specialty is fashioning wines to be drunk within the first several years of life by using the latest technology and following precise and selective harvesting techniques. Macabeo (also known as Viura) is the preferred varietal for white wines here, while Tempranillo is the varietal of choice for all of the bodegas’ reds. Under the expert guidance of the Bodegas Viticultores de Barros winemaking team, this winery fashions only two wines, a white and a red, both of which are rich in flavor and freshly aromatic. Although juicy and delicious when first released, the bodegas’ Tempranillo improves considerably with an additional year or more in bottle, which renders it one of the finest red wine values on the market today.
Extremadura, once part of the ancient Roman Province of Lusitania, is the most rural and least populated wine region of Spain. Located in the far west of the country along Spain’s border with Portugal, Extremadura is an autonomous region that has traditionally been known more for its National Parks (Monfragüe and the Tagus River Natural Park) and its long list of famous sons than for wine. Extremadura sired many of Spain’s most famous conquistadores: Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, and scores of others. Consequently, the region’s administrative capital Merida has lent its name to numerous towns and cities in North and South America. Nonetheless, wine has been an important part of Extremadura’s economy for centuries. Since the 1980’s fine wine production has soared in the region, due largely to the viticultural renaissance sweeping Spain. Today, Ribera del Guadiana (DO) is Extremadura’s most important appellation for fine wine production.
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