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Senior editor James Suckling joined Wine Spectator in 1981 and retired in 2010. As European bureau chief, he was based in Tuscany and tasted the wines of Italy, Bordeaux and Port.
James Suckling

A Tasty Tempranillo with Steak

Bodegas Mauro Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2005

James Suckling
Posted: March 10, 2009

I drank this yummy Tempranillo-based "tinto" from Spain over the weekend while in Havana, Cuba, for a cigar festival for our sister publication Cigar Aficionado. I went to a friend's house on Sunday for an Argentine barbeque. Rodrigo Silveyra, head of logistics for the Melia Hotel group, fired up his charcoal grill in his garden and cooked to perfection slabs of sirloin from Uruguay that had been marinated for a day in butter, garlic and herbs. He served it with a tomato salsa, beet and mayonnaise salad, as well as a green salad. The meat melted in your mouth. It was the best steak I have ever had on the island.

The bright and fruity red with crisp acidity cut through the meat without any problem. Its bright blackberry, raspberry and minerally character lingered nicely on the palate despite the decadent and meaty flavors of the steak. Rodrigo served it slightly chilled, or cellar temperature, which was just right for the warm Caribbean afternoon in his garden. I rated the wine 90 points, non-blind.

The red is made mostly with Tempranillo with a small part of Syrah. I think the latter gives the wine a little more color and character but doesn't overpower the freshness and brightness of the young red. The winery is located just outside the appellation of Ribera del Duero, which is why it carries the Viño de la Tierra ("country wine," similar to France's vin de pays) Castilla y León appellation. The red is aged about a year in a half in partially new French and American oak.

Bodegas Mauro Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2005 (87, $47)

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