Debut: 2009 Tempranillo & 2009 ‘Vino Rojo’

‘Tis the season for the reds! With the advent of the Winter Holidays we’re releasing two of our wines, the “classic” Tempranillo and the first version of ‘Vino Rojo,’ simply meaning ‘Red Wine’ in Spanish.

The 2009 Tempranillo greatly resembles the wines of the first two vintages, 2006 and 2007. The reason is simple: the Two Coyote Vineyard. The 2008 Tempranillo was a departure in a sense, having been sourced entirely from the Sugarloaf Vineyard’s first crop at third leaf.

With the 2009 vintage, the wine is a blend of both vineyards, half and half, bringing increased depth and complexity coupled with a more supple and rich texture. Essentially, we believe emphasis on Two Coyote fruit enhances a quintessential characteristic of Tempranillo, that being the “cigar box” or tobacco-like aromatic. For me personally, this element is a very distinct expression of the grape.

This vintage’s wine displays the classic descriptors associated with Tempranillo. It’s a big wine, yet is graceful and elegant with ripe blackberry and plum, stoney minerality, a medley of spices, dried herbs and a hint of tanned leather.

The story behind Vino Rojo is a bit complicated. Originally, the wine was destined to become Fuego Sagrado, which only has been produced once in prior vintages. Some confusion occurred in the vineyard and the Malbec was picked and sent to a winery other than ours. Once fermented and in barrel, it was transferred to our winery.

Fuego Sagrado is primarily dominated by Malbec, a deeply opaque wine with aromas of dark blackberry, coffee and chocolate, then enhanced by Tempranillo’s tobacco, spice, leather and herbs. Our first version, the 2008, displayed all of these elements. However, the 2009 Malbec was far less emphatic with a more restrained expression and a lighter wine in nature.

Once bottled and given about a half year, we re-tasted the wine and realized that it was quite different from its predecessor. Actually, the wine was very lovely with a more restrained expression, being almost claret-like. So we were faced with a decision; label the wine as Fuego or produce another label.

Our decision was to create a new label. The concern was simply that since there had been only one version of Fuego we didn’t want to confuse our customers and release a wine that was stylistically a contrast with the previous vintage. To make the planned Holiday Season release in tandem with the Tempranillo, we had to move quickly, so the name ‘Vino Rojo’ seemed a good choice and could also provide us with a more generic label for future wines that may not bear the labels already existing.

We don’t view Vino Rojo as a “lesser” wine, but one that required differentiation. The nose has an almost dusty-like feature of desert earth. It displays beautiful fruit emphasizing dark black cherry, cola, spice and an inference of mulberry, all wrapped up in a very elegant package.

Oh, and by the way, you can try both of these lovely wines in only a few days at our Holiday Open House this coming Saturday, December 10th. We do ask for confirmation as it’s not open to the public, but to those who are our wine club members and mailing list customers.

If you’d like to join us, simply go to: and let us know you’d like to join us for a great afternoon of fun with delicious tapas and both wines in their winter debut. Feliz Navidad!


About salidawine

Salida Wine is a creation of winemaker Doug McCrea featuring a portfolio of wines made in Washington State from Spanish grape varietals.
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