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altipianoThe culture of wine signifies romance. From the idyll of the farming life, to the artisan winemaker coaxing a palette of flavors out of her grapes, to lazy, sun-drenched afternoons spent sipping wine with good friends sharing a meal, wine symbolizes the good life even if the reality of the wine business is sometimes less enchanting.

But the “personality” of the wines themselves are not always so fanciful. Some are powerful, some brooding, some ostentatious; others are severe,pert, vulgar, or pretentious. Wines present almost as much variation as the human personality, which is one reason we find them so interesting.

But then there are the wines that really do seem to capture enchantment and bottle it; with an erotic allure that brings to mind Gable and Leigh (or Scarlett Johansson and anyone)

This Tempranillo has that character.

Warm and sweetly sensuous on the palate, medium-bodied yet full and succulent. The evolution in the mouth is like a languorous, meandering, boat ride down a long river showing fruit first, then a mildly acidic phase, and turning leathery just as soft tannins ease you into a medium-length finish that shows the lingering after-flavor of cherry capped with a little milk chocolate.

The nose has complexity and focus with black cherry, pencil shavings, and earth vying for attention over subtler intimations of smoke and  new leather.

This wine is non-vintage and made from grapes from somewhere in California so it is likely to be a blend. Props to the winemaker for this lovely effort.

Altipiano Vineyard and Winery are part of San Diego’s burgeoning wine scene. Their first vintage of estate grapes—Sangiovese Brunello clone and Barbera–is now in the bottle and is being poured at their winery along with this Tempranillo and several other varietals.

(My bottle of their Sangiovese is in storage acquiring a bit more of the patina, which every good Brunello-style wine needs) If you are in San Diego it is worth a visit to their beautiful Escondido property where Peter and winemaker Denise will greet you enthusiastically and talk about their wines.

Score: 91

Price: $35

Alc: 13.4%

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