Other wines tasted: 2004 Cueto Crianza Rioja*. (Quality Wines of Spain, New York, NY)
($16) Ruby-red. Explosively perfumed aromas of fresh raspberry, blueberry and amaro-like bitterness underscored by lavender and rose. Tastes like candied rose petals and dark berry preserves, with hints of licorice and orange bitters. This light, silky wine shows almost no tannins. The fruit expression here is almost perversely candied but at the same time compelling and remarkably persistent. Some might find that a bad thing. One of the more unique wines I tasted this year, eerily reminiscent of a digestivo and a dark berry liqueur at the same time. I score this with great trepidation.
($22) Youthful purple. Candied blackberry and blueberry aromas show the same exotic qualities as the '06 Cueto Seleccion, along with a touch of medicinal cherry. Bitter Cheracol, espresso and licorice flavors show an unlikely sweetness but are enlivened by zesty acidity. Finishing flavors suggest a blend of Fernet Branca and Boo Berry cereal. Captivating but also unnerving. Serve this to your most open-minded friends.
($10) Dark red. Ripe strawberry and raspberry aromas veer dangerously close to fruit punch territory but are saved by licorice and black tea accents. Luscious, almost jammy red and dark berry flavors are gently supported by soft acidity and firmed by dusty tannins. Takes a turn toward bitter cherry skin on the finish, with the licorice note echoing.