2010 Altovinum Calatayud Evodia Grenache

In a return trip to Alba Restaurant on the north edge of the East Village , our fairly large party was  was faced with the usual negotiations over what wine to choose. The meals were going to be wide-ranging but some in our party roundly voted down any white wines. One thing about Alba is that the wine list is unusually expensive. From what I can tell the prices are three times retail. This ups the ante quite considerably when choosing wine.  Choose wrong and that $90 bottle of wine (which costs $30 retail) is going to be an expensive mistake.  Because I’d had good success with 2008 Altovinum Evodia I decided to stick with that bottle. At only (!) $27 for a bottle it appeared to be the least expensive wine on the list that offered any track record, albeit from a different vintage. Keep in mind that this wine can be purchased for less than $10 in a store, so we are not going to find a fantastic and complex wine.   The Grenache vines that go into making this wine are from higher elevations of the Calatayud, Spain region and are grown on old vines that have largely been ignored by winemakers until recently. As with the 2008 vintage I tried, the wine tastes like it was oaked but apparently this wine spends no time in oak barrels. Unlike the 2008 I did not detect any minerality or earthiness on the front end and the nice fruit aroma and flavor on the back end in the 2008 was largely missing in this 2010. If I had paid less than $10 in the store for this wine I would not have felt bad as there is nothing “wrong” with this wine. As it was, this wine was a good choice when listed with dozens of $75-$150 bottles.  If you find yourself at Alba don’t hesitate to try the Evodia.  Just don’t get your hopes up too high.

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