Monday, February 11, 2008

No Swill Zone - Inaugural Edition

Given the state we're in, and particularly the location in the state that we're in, it's no wonder that Miami is a crossroads for many things. Banking, the arts, food, and, this recurring post's subject, wine. Florida is, according to who you ask, the second or third largest wine consuming state in the nation. But given Florida's three-tiered distribution system, and the fact that we're home to the largest alcohol distributor in the country, our choices in wine are sometimes limited.

We do, however, enjoy the benefits of being a crossroads which wine-wise means we excel at having a having a diversity of wines that reflect our region's culture. This means wines from regions with Latin influences, with Spain, Chile and Argentina leading the way, as well as from our neighbors way West and Northwest. A recent study found that if you live east of an imaginary line going from Ohio to Texas, it's actually better for the environment to purchase wines from Europe that are transported by ship (versus wines from the West Coast which come by truck). Given that much ofwhat we buy comes from Asia, and China in particular, I figured I'm probably ruining the environment more by buying plastic forks made in China versus Pinot Noir grown in Oregon. So when it comes to drinking wines, destination and environmental concerns take a back seat.

National wine reviews are great, but many times it's tough, if not impossible, to find the wine in Miami because it lacks a distributor. There's a few local wine critics in our daily or weekly rags, and most seem to pander to those searching for everyday value wines from large, well known producers. The reviews are usually basic but it's an almost certainty that the wines reviewed can be found fairly easily.

Where do I fit into all this? I'm not necessarily sure. I'm not a wine expert by any means, but I figured if I end up liking a wine, maybe someone else in MIA can take it as a suggestion to try something they normally wouldn't. And one thing is that with almost complete certainty the wines that will appear in the No Swill Zone will have been bought in, or accessible to, South Florida. And I can assure with complete certainty that there will be no swill. And as for scoring the wines, I hate the point system, I hate the star system so I haven't decided what it'll be. I'll try some out in the coming months and see what sticks.

One such wine which we opened the other night is the 2005 Prima from the Toro denomination in Spain. Toros have been getting a lot of press recently as Robert Parker has seemingly fallen in love with some woman from Valladolid or they have some dirty pictures of him somewhere and they've blackmailed him into awarding the 2004 Termanthia a rare 100 points accompanied by a host of others receiving high 90's. With Spanish wines so popular in South Florida we're flooded with Toros and have easy access to the 100 point giants as well as smaller producers.

Toros are knows for being big, bold wines ("toro" meaning "bull" in Spanish) so they're not for swishing in a backyard picnic in July. But as our weather is a little more temparate this time of year, it's the perfect time to pop this baby open. Prima delivers what you'd expect, bold dark flavors yet a little mellow at the end. It's still a bit tannic so a bit of aging might help it (or some decanting prior).
Prima can be found easily around town. The distributor has been doing tastings at Sunset Corners and Bin no. 18. I'm sure other retailers carry it as well.
So here's the lowdown:
Wine: 2005 Prima, D.O.C. Toro, Spain
Producer: Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos
Purchased: Sunset Corners, $19.99
And something timely for the rating:
Randy: "Yes", Paula: "Yes", Simon: "Yes". Congratulations Prima, you're going down my gullet!


Paula said...

Cool feature. I personally want to know about wines that I can actually buy here. Reading national magazine recommendations was educational at best but it always frustrated me because I didn't know if and where I could find them locally. I'll have to try this one.

Alex said...

Good idea. I'm constantly exchanging wine tips, because a lot of the "talked about" wines are not available locally.

BTW, if you like bold Spanish wines, try the CastaƱo Yecla. Goes for 10 bucks at Total Wine.

L2M said...

I found the national recs frustrating too, thus the feature. Glad it'll be useful. And Alex, I'm all over Yeclas and Bierzos. Thanks for the suggestion.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

I'm with you. This is something Paula and I discussed a long time ago.
Thanks for taking up the reins...

L2M said...

I knew I'd seen something similar somewhere but couldn't find where. Must've been stuck in my subconscious. Let's hope I'm disciplined enough to keep it up. So far I've failed 2 attempts at recurring posts. Let's home the 3rd time's a charm.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

Took me a while, too. You're way ahead of the game. It's okay if you don't mind haunting wine stores. Just forget about sleeping or a social life...

Paula said...

Have you had a chance to try the Giacomo Vico? Curious to hear what others think... If not, then I ask that you grace us with No Swill Zone Part 2 soon! :)