Winery: Somerset Vineyard & Winery
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
How They Describe It
Our 2014 Tempranillo is a complex and elegant red wine. You will find yourself enticed by hints of cherry, black plum, cedar and spice. This is a wine to be savored.
How I Describe It
This wine is a medium ruby-garnet. Long barrel aging is common in Tempranillo wines worldwide, and as a result the redness of the wine gives way to orange (i.e., garnet) hues. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it often means you can expect more mature aromas and flavors which only aged wines bring.
The Somerset Winery 2014 Tempranillo features fairly straightforward aromas of oak and red fruit. Vanilla, ripe cherry, leather, and smoke are the most intense.
The oak flavors on this wine stands out the most. Charcoal, tobacco, peat smoke, clove, and cedar hit first, followed by hints of vanilla. A layer of tart red cherry and plum add complexity.
This is a dry wine with medium-minus acid. After aging for half a decade, the Somerset Winery 2014 Tempranillo’s high tannins have integrated terrifically, giving way to a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. Additionally, the wine’s maturity displays notes of earth and wet leaves. However, there is a somewhat leafy, medicinal quality, bolstered by the very high 15.6% alcohol content.
Why is This Wine Special?
Somerset Vineyard & Winery is one of Temecula Valley’s newest wineries, and one worth watching as they develop over the years. The back of the bottle says the winery’s founders focus on “hand-crafted wines inspired by Spain and the Rhône region of France”, intelligently choosing to grow varietals bred for warm, dry climates. Adding to the impressiveness, the 2014 Tempranillo uses entirely estate-grown grapes and is bottled on-site.
I’m also a sucker for a good founding story, and Somerset’s is right up there. According to their website, brothers Kurt and John Tiedt found success in a small investment group, rounded up a few close friends, and bought a recently defunct winery on the De Portola Wine Trail. They named the winery after the street they grew up on, and dedicated it to a friend who passed from cancer shortly before the winery was acquired. When I visited the winery and its tasting room, I noticed a lot of open space, seemingly designed to be filled with memories and accolades.
It’s important to note the 2014 Tempranillo is part of Somerset’s inaugural product release. Although the heat from the high alcohol content was a minor distraction from the oak and fruit, it’s a very tasty wine. With such a strong wine list in Year 1, I’m excited to see how they grow and develop in the coming years.
When & How I Would Drink It
Pair the Somerset Winery 2014 Tempranillo with smoked sausage dishes like paella and pizza.
I brought this wine along to hotel on a weekend getaway with my wife and baby. We opened it later in the evening as we were winding down. The heavy herbal quality and high alcohol makes for a satisfying after-dinner drink, similar to amaros, fernets, and other digestifs.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $32 ($25.60 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: unknown
Have you tried the Somerset Winery 2014 Tempranillo? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.