How can you turn down a wine with a bull and his dangling testicles on the label? Antonio the Bull, to be precise.
The very-cute label and marketing of the wine makes it a great gift for non-wine-aficionados. Antonio the Bull is a cute doodle and there’s a cute story first thing you read on the front of the bottle. It’s a screw-top cap so there’s no messing about with cork screws or gadgets. And it’s very mild, so as not to shock or offend the palette of someone who likes to mix their jug-wine with a little ginger ale or carbonated water to jazz it up.
Despite the overflowing cuteness (yes, I am a cute aficionado as well but prefer to keep that separate from my wine), this is a nice little bottle of wine. We had the Selección 2007 which is a syrah. It seems like later years are mostly syrah with a 15% garnacha blend, so I’d be interested in trying one of these to see what the motivation for altering it was.
I generally lean towards Spanish wines for every-day occasions like week-day dinners, book club meetings, and parties where I know non-wine people will want to be adventurous and sniff the wine. This Beso de Vino is ideal because it’s a $6-9 bottle of decent wine that is mild with an underlying complexity of flavors. You’re not going to shock anyone with it, but you’ll probably not get bored of it quickly either.
It comes out of Aguaron, Spain, an area that is scattered with little towns of 300 people or less. This is in the province of Zaragoza, which has one of those histories where every other week someone else was conquering the place and swaggering around like they invented shoes. The locals generally went about their agricultural business, creating amazing foods and wines, and making up Jota.
The wine itself is deeply colored, almost purple, with an unremarkable fragrance. At first blush, the flavors are very subtle. You almost put the glass down and ask for something else. But like the quiet girl at work who wears glassed and hardly talks, if you give the wine a moment to relax, you start to feel these lovely hints of personality creep up. There are touches of cocoa and dried fruit, and then sweet olives, and maybe a jumble of spices. For just a moment you feel like you’ve been chewing honeysuckle blossoms. And then it’s gone and you want more.
Although the vineyard is well established, the brand is fairly new, and came to the US only a few years ago. A growing number of distributors are carrying this wine, probably because it has great eye-appeal for displays. But don’t let that put you off. The Selección is the highest rated of their offerings, but you might also find Old Vine Garnacha, Macabeo (a white varietal typically used in many Spanish blends), and Garnacha Rosé (um, Valentine’s Day hint hint).
Beso de Vino, Selección 2007
Spanish Syrah, 13.5% ABV
Usually about $6.00-$9.00