2009 Terrenal Tempranillo (Yecla Spain) – the Four Buck Welner
This past weekend we were invited to a few meals and though we had quite a few wines, I never had a chance to write my thoughts down about them, except for one. The 2009 Terrenal Tempranillo from Yecla Spain. If you live in California or where ever you can find a Trader Joe’s, you have a solid chance to buy a decent bottle of kosher wine for $3.99. This has led people to call the wine the darndest of names; Four Buck Chuck, Four Buck Feivel, or my try – Four Buck Welner. The Four Buck part is homage to the $1.99 Charles Shaw wines, also known as Two Buck Chuck, which is made exclusively for Trade Joe’s, by Fred Franzia, who bought the Charles Shaw Winery in 1990, and has been using the name in eponymous since.
My name is in honor of the man who brought us these reasonably priced wines; Shimshon Welner, a wine negotiant who creates enjoyable kosher wines at a reasonable price, from many different continents. Hence, Four Buck Welner.
To be honest, I never saw the earlier vintages, but when the Four Buck Welner(s) recently came on the scene, they were the talk of my town. Not particularly for their quality, though they were ok, but more for the price! Four Dollars! Are you kidding me? The first batch of wines came from Argentina, and was Mevushal. They were a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Malbec. Then they sold out and we had nothing at my local TJ for a few months. Recently, TJ has restocked, but not with Argentinean Four Buck Welner, but rather with Spanish Terrenal. Please note, these wines are not Mevushal, and have more structure and mouth feel.
The flash pasteurization process, even if sub-second, is a swift kick to the gut for these simpler wines. The best way to do the mevushal process is to do it very early in the vinification of a wine. That is how Herzog and Hagafen pasteurize their wines, early and quickly.
2009 Terrenal Tempranillo – Score: B+ (Not Mevushal)
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is ripe with dark cherry, raspberry, plum, black fruit, bell pepper/herb, and dirt. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is slightly concentrated but not complex with fruit that carries over from the nose, plum, dark cherry, and raspberry. As the wine opens, the not yet integrated tannins turn a bit full in the mouth. The mid palate is acidic and balanced with not yet fully integrated tannin and dirt. The finish is long with dirt, vanilla, plum, raspberry, and a flourish of green tea. This is not a wine that will become any more complex or concentrated with time, but one that does open a bit in the glass. I recommend drinking the wine after opening and watch it change slightly as the evening progresses. Price has no bearings in my scoring and that holds true here as well. However, it is not inappropriate to state, that is a perfectly fine wine for the price, and another fine example of Shimshon’s work.