CASTILLO de FUENDEJALON CRIANZA 1996, CAMPO de BORJA, Fuendejalon, Spain, 12.5%, CP136-1811 (Opimian) $12.17
Opimian says: "....grapes of thirty year old vines of grenacha (75%) and tempranillo (25%). Long skin maceration in tanks then matured in cask and a year in bottle. ... fruit notes mingle with oak tannins for a rich experience. Cellar 6 months to 2 years." My notes: Cellared July, 2001 and enjoyed many times since. This is one of my last bottles. Still a rich ruby red and with a light nose if allowed to breathe ten minutes - oaky if pushed. Light- to medium-bodied, Is a well balanced blend of red cherries and spice, slight cigar on the palate. A light tannin still apparent in a long dry pleasant finish. A light dry sipper. Great with anything rice/tomato-based, minced beef, tapas. Good value.
LONG FLAT SHIRAZ 2000 (2003), New South Wales, Australia, 13.5%, #536763 $11.75 ($11.95)
Of the 2003 vintage LCBO says: "Ruby red colour; aromas of jammy berry fruit, pepper and spice aromas and flavours; dry, medium body, with good flavour intensity, sweet fruit centre, soft tannins and a warm finish; soft style Shiraz. Serve with lamb chops; grilled steak; chicken souvlaki." and names the winery as Tyrrell's. This is a General listing. My notes: Originally recommended by Beppi the 2000 vintage was cellared January, 2002. The 2003 on Ontario shelves identifies the winery on the label as 'The Long Flat Wine Company'. (In May, 2003 Tyrrell's sold the Long Flat brand to an Australian winery, Cheviot Bridge.) A crystal clear ruby colour, the 2000 has a slight brick tinge whereas the 2003 doesn't - likely the cellaring. Both have an initial light cherry/raspberry nose that vanishes quickly -no blackcurrant. The 2000 is well integrated, light-bodied, smoothe in the mouth with very little oakyness - some cherry fruit leading to a short warm finish. The 2003 is quite sharp without cherry or other discernible fruit. Each is a dry red sipper better paired with grilled/roasted meats or stews.