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Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck

Oops, I did it again. 

Last week, you may recall, I threw a minor temper tantrum over wines with stupid, cutesy names and stupid, made-up backstories, then went ahead and recommended one. Well, just to show I'm nothing if not consistent in my hypocrisy, this week I'm touting another one. 

It's called Tempra Tantrum (I know, ouch!), and it imagines itself a clever bit of word play on the fact that it's a line of four wines that each blend Spain's iconic Tempranillo grape, the primary grape of Rioja, with Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Grenache in a 60/40 split.

I first tried the 2008 Tempranillo-Grenache, thinking that for a wine produced in Spain, two iconic Spanish grapes would be better than one. Uh, no... It sucked so hard that it created a vacuum that blew out all the windows in my kitchen. 

But, glutton for punishment that I am, I unscrewed a second bottle, the 2008 Tempranillo-Shiraz, thinking the soft, ripe, almost flowery fruit of inexpensive Shiraz (which normally I despise) would temper, if you will, the earthy, olive-tobacco-leather character of Tempranillo. To my surprise and pleasure -- as the first wine left my taste buds feeling like they'd been worked over with a two-by-four -- the pairing worked, producing a simple, approachable wine marked by ripe cherry-berry flavors on one end and a bit of dusky-musky esoterica on the other.  

And, hey, it's only ten bucks. Ain't that a pisser.

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Bill Citara

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