Wine of the Week: Don Mendo Gran Riserva

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Vintage: 2011

Region: Cariñena

Style: Red Blend—Tempranillo, Carignan, Garnacha

Country: Spain

Winery: Don Mendo

Tasting Notes: Cherry and blueberry, notes of leather and tobacco. I especially appreciate that hint of smoke from the earthy tones.

Rating: 🍷🍷🍷

Thoughts: We found this through our Wall Street Journal Wine Club, and it was a fun surprise. I’m not usually a big fan of blends, but these balanced quite well. A nice, easy bottle for a Tuesday night.

Pairings: We had it with some spicy tacos, but would also do well with carnitas, both pork and chicken. Anything with cumin, actually.

Juvé Y Camps Rosé Brut Cava

by Amy

It's about time we had a rosé on the Vixen.
 

And I'm giddy this gets to be our first.

As my boss very publicly pointed out on Facebook, yesterday was my birthday! I've been taking advantage of celebrating for the past few days (because Monday isn't exactly prime party time, ya know?). Over the weekend my friend Lauren and I went to Nashville's Chauhan Ale & Masala House (owned by Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan) for some delicious haute Indian fare. The rich, jewel-toned décor and screens of Bollywood dancing made for a festive birthday atmosphere, but that didn't hold a candle to the delicious food. Oh, if you enjoy Indian food, you need to get a reservation here: the lentils are especially to die for.

And a key component to any birthday celebration is the bubbly, is it not? 
 

Allow me to geek out on the Cava we imbibed. You're gonna want to listen to this.

Cava is Spain's national bubbly, the equivalent to France's Champagne and Italy's Prosecco. A wine celebrated by Catalonians for generations, Cava isn't overly sweet and is usually aged for nine months to three years.

Made from Pinot Noir grapes, Juvé Y Camps Rosé Brut Cava is fruity, floral, creamy, and delicious. This one's a Brut, meaning it's the driest of dry bubblies. As an apértif, this makes me happy—I don't want to start with something overly sweet. The color on this wine is gorgeous, a dark coral. With hints of strawberries and honeysuckle on the nose, a full, creamy mouthfeel and a palate of tart berries, I could've happily downed a few more glasses (had they not been overpriced at $10 each).

But great news: in the vein of Prosecco, Cava isn't nearly as expensive as Champagne (thanks to Spain's mechanized production), but it's definitely worth a buy. You can get a bottle of this Rosé Cava here for only $16.99—a great excuse to party anytime! 


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Carrizal Rioja Riserva

By J.T.

A mellow wine that's easy on the palate with a smooth finish laced with caramel.

This one might be off the market for now--let me know if you find it again!

Faustino V 1998 Rioja Reserve

By J.T.

Filled with heady scent of snapping black cherries and vanilla, this is a lovely Spanish wine perfect for the holiday season. 

I don't think this one's available anymore, folks, but don't let that stop you from learning more about Faustino wines, which have been made in Spain for the past 150 years.