Tue 12 May 2009
So, to accompany this version of cheese toast for lunch — sorry, no picture! but I really was having cheese toast for lunch. LL came home and said, “What! Are you having cheese toast again?” — I opened a bottle of the Casita Mami Old Garnacha Vines 2006, from Spain’s Navarra region. The label is cute and almost too-well designed, and there’s a typical back-label story — “Mami lives in her little house blah blah blah” — but the wine is terrific. The color is dark ruby-purple. Nose the nose, and you smell rich, spicy, earthy, plummy and funky scents of softly macerated red and black currants and mulberries. Red and black fruit flavors are cushioned by robust tannins and enlivened by an acid bite that keeps the wine engagingly vibrant. Give this a few minutes in the glass and it unfolds hints of violets and rose petals, while in the mouth, it gets deeper, juicier, spicier, smoothing out nicely but retaining the dark briery influence of grainy tannins and underbrushy oak. Very Good+, and just what the doctor ordered as a cheese toast wine, fruity and spicy, filled with character but not overwhelming. What would you expect to pay for such a paragon? How about $11? No lie.
I tried two other wines in the Casita Mami line-up. I wasn’t quite as impressed with the Casita Mami Garnacha Graciano 2004, a 60/40 blend that made me want to try a more recent vintage (Very Good, about $14), but I urge you not to miss the Casita Mami Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, a warm, rich, spicy, pungent and flavorful wine that calls in loving tones for a grilled veal chop with rosemary or leg of lamb. At a bit more than four-and-a-half years old, the color is still dark purple, and the aromas of black currants and plums permeated by bell pepper, black olive, cedar and dried thyme are fresh and clean and enticing. It’s a lively and resonant wine, deeply imbued with earthy and minerally elements and packed with dusty tannins and walnut shell-like oak, and in truth, the wine could have used a bit less time in barrel. Still, this is vastly attractive, almost entertaining in its resolute nature and downright deliciousness. Very Good+. About $17.
These wines are imported by Romero & Miller, Bel Air, Maryland.
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