Monday, January 18, 2016

Monterey Tempranillo: Lee Family Farm

Lee Family Farm is a label created under the parentage of Morgan Winery.  Dan Morgan Lee wanted to be a veterenarian, but wine hijacked his career path.  Lee planted vineyards in Monterey County's Santa Lucia Highlands back in 1996.  Today he uses those grapes for his Morgan and Double L labels.  For his Lee Family Farms bottlings, he sources fruit from other Monterey County growers.

The folks at Morgan Winery quote the Oxford Companion to Wine’s summary of Tempranillo as "Spain’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon." And it's not a smart-alecky answer either. In fact, I'll take Tempranillo with a steak any old time. This Tempranillo hails not from Spain, but from Ventana Vineyard’s gravelly dirt in the Arroyo Seco subdivision of the cool-climate Monterey AVA. The wine spent 10 months in French oak, about a quarter of it new.  Alcohol is a rich 14.4% abv and the retail price is a tasty 20 bucks.

The nose on the Lee Family Farm Arroyo Seco Tempranillo 2013 is quite savory and rustic. Black fruit is predominant, but some nice cedar notes waft out of the glass as well.  Tobacco, spice and a bit of anise are also around in the aroma package. On the palate, that savory aspect holds strong. The very savory, very rustic black fruit is colored with sage and bramble.

This is a natural to pair with meat right off of a sizzling grill. Thick and juicy meat is what this wine is made for. I like mine a little pink in the middle, if you're cooking today. I can be over in about 20 minutes.