In the same format at his monthly tastings, David attended (and partially set up) a tasting of 6 Spanish red wines.  Hosted by Nick and Jenn, this was as interesting and surprising as the regular gatherings, and included similar rules and scoring.

First Place:  Dehesa de Rubiales Prieto Picudo 2002 (Castilla y León).  Made from 100% Prieto Picudo grapes and aged 9 months in new French Allier oak barrels, this wine exhibited medicinal, cough syrup aromas, reminiscent of "Vicks Vapo Rub" (Jenn), along with menthol, eucalyptus, tropical fruits, and permanent marker.  Kevin compared it to a "humid day in Wrentham, Massachusetts".  Tasting of bitter chocolate, eucalyptus, and paint thinner.  Everyone agreed that this was a food wine, that went very well with the cheeses.  Kevin decided that this was a "bipolar wine".  Received 27 total points.  Nick's bottle.  About $16.

Second Place:  Bodegas y Viñedos de Murcia "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" Shiraz-Cabernet-Monastrell 2003 (Jumilla).  Reminiscent of blackberries, smoke, dark coffee, fig newtons, and dark chocolate on the nose.  Strongly alcoholic in the glass, which reminded Nick of "Napa Cab", while David thought it "smells purple-y".  Darker in color and appeared unfiltered.  Boozy on the tongue, featuring flavors of cherries, blackberries, and smoke.  Thick, rich and full-bodied.  Good with the blue cheese.  Received 18 points.  Teri's bottle.  About $9.

Third Place:  Bodegas Ostatu Alavesa Reserva 1999 (Rioja).  Stinky, pungent and funky smells were offset by bright cherry, cream and Cotes du Rhone like aromas that got better with aeration.  Musty, like a "stinky Burgundy", with a creamy, buttery quality not unlike a malolactic Chardonnay.  Tasting lighter than it smelled, with tangy, acidic bite, along with iron, rust and hints of jam.  Received 16 points.  Kevin's bottle.  About $24.

The others:

Numanthia-Termes "Numanthia" 2001 (Toro).  Produced from old vine Tinto de Toro grapes, this was heavy, with a deep, dark color.  Showed lots of alcohol on the nose, along with plums, prunes, black licorice, and black cherries.  Nick was reminded of "Marlboro mediums".  Tannic, with lingering flavors of black tea.  Kevin thought that this was a "I'm gonna hook up tonight wine".  14 points.  David's bottle.  About $50.

Crianzas y Viñedos Santo Cristo Marqués de Reala Grenache 2004 (Campo de Borja).  Aromas of cherries, cola, Dr. Pepper, black tea, "wet smoke" (Kristin), Chambord, and amaretto, with a sweetness similar to port.  The cherry liqueur scents gave this away as Grenache.  Over the top cherries on the palate, or "like berries on acid" (Teri).  Good, but not complex, with a simple texture.  3 points.  Jenn's bottle.  Price unrecorded.

Consensus Crianza Mencia 2001 (Bierzo).  Universally disliked, this wine's nose was reminiscent of musty, earthy smells, that David thought were like "old closet".  Jenn was reminded of "dirty pug", while Teri decided on "smells like Kevin's feet".  Having no fruit on the palate, with a spicy, leathery quality, that fades quickly.  Kevin thought it was similar to "Olive Garden Chianti".  Unexciting.  No points.  Kristin's bottle.  About $10.50.

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