Luzon Returns

luzonSpanish reds rock.

I’ve written several (positive) reviews of Spanish Garnacha, Monastrell and Tempranillo, and this one will be the story of a prodigal. Well, kinda…

Bodegas Luzon used to be distributed in my state by the importer/negociant Jorge Ordonez. I’ve said in other reviews that the wines in his portfolio are, almost without exception, exceptional. But something must have gone down between Jorge and the Luzon folks, because Luzon was suddenly absent from the Ordonez book. I thought the line was gone for good, until it re-surfaced recently from another supplier.

So I quickly brought home a bottle of the Luzon 2009, and set to work researching the winery. Bodegas Luzon is a family-owned winery in the Jumilla region of southeastern Spain. They’ve been growing grapes there for a couple of centuries, and the typical climate of hot summer days and much cooler nights produces fruit with lots of intensity and structure. The chalky, gravelly soil also challenges the vines and forces them to grow grapes with well-balanced acids and tannins.

Sounds fancy, but the wine called “Luzon” is priced like an everyday red. It’s the winery’s entry-level red, but it packs a lot of punch. It’s a blend of Monastrell (known in much of the wine world as Mourvedre) and Syrah. The nose shows lots of dark fruit and a hint of licorice, and the palate is dominated by black pepper, with black currantsĀ  bringing up the rear. The body is quite rich, stopping just short of being jammy. It’s the acid, I think, that keeps everything in balance.

We drank this with a red sauce dish, which worked well against the wine’s acid. I’d like to taste it with bold meat dishes, too — something “stick to your ribs” like Osso Bucco. Either way, I think I’ll like everything this winery does. It’s a class act, and I can’t wait to try the bigger hitters such as Altos de Luzon.

Stay tuned for that review. Cheers!

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