2005 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

2005 Monte Ducay Cariñena ReservaPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per Bodegas San Valero (on the ’06) “Beautiful morello cherry colour, with brick red sparkles. Fragrant and delicate in the nose. Refined bouquet, rich and well balanced. The aftertaste is long and persistent.”

What I Think:

As mentioned in a previous post this one has some interesting packaging as it comes wrapped in brown paper. From a marketing perspective I’m not sure how that would have affected me but we will never know as buying this one was a foregone conclusion based on a mostly positive review by Jeff over at Viva la Wino!. Funny enough like him I ripped the wrapper offer expecting to find something underneath but alas no. Either way, no matter. Let’s get to what’s in the bottle.

This one is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon (special shout out to Æsop for tracking that one down!) On opening you get all wood on the nose with the only exception being some barrel spices that manage to sneak through. The palate starts with an overpowering herbal acidity which takes a moment to reveal some sour, under ripe cherry flavors that come across on a juicy backbone before leading to a hot finish. This wine becomes more approachable with time showing some dark fruit aromas on the nose and remnants of the same on the finish. This leaves me in somewhat of a conundrum as initially I almost hated it but found a trace of enjoyment towards the finish. Couple that with the fact that others have liked it and perhaps I’ll give it another try but not likely. If I do, one thing is for sure I’ll be giving it lots of air and pairing it with strong foods or cheeses. Hoping for better I tried the 2008 Darien Tempranillo ($6) the same night and that one didn’t work for me either.

So how about you? Have you had any Spanish wines you’ve enjoyed lately? If so let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing!

Rating: 12th Bottle

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25 thoughts on “2005 Monte Ducay Cariñena Reserva

  1. Funny, at the Trader Joe’s I work at, we had a wine tasting the other day. We had this as the last wine after the 2006 Chateau Chevalier Pinot Noir, Hamilton and Stevens 2008 Pinot and 2007 Mission Point Pinot Noir (Hamilton & Stevens was the best IMHO) then came this puppy. My palate was kinda in a different place when I tried it due to the pinots so it was quite a sharp right turn. But one of those exciting ones. It was tannic and much drier on the palate, so I agree with Jason on the strong food pairing. I had a piece of blue cheese with sip #2 and it was great. I’ll be giving this another try sans trying three pinots before hand and I’ll post a second update, but I recommend giving this a go!

  2. I’ve tended to rely on your reviews, and after you reviewed the TJ wine 2006 VINTJS Malbec, I bought a bottle, really liked it, then bought a case.

    Interestingly, this wine I bought on my own at TJ this week because it caught my eye, and the packaging was cool. But my reaction was similar to yours. I found it bitter, it didn’t really open up much, and I wouldn’t buy it again.

  3. My wife and I ate and talked our way through a bottle this evening (May 28). I poured a glass for each of us. I was fairly sure I detected the cab sauvignon in the nose. A bit hot at the first taste, I poured myself a Scotch, later cooked dinner (seared pork chops and sauteed asparagus, which has a reputation for being death on wine, but, I guess, not the way I prepare it–and, even better, it’s local). At any rate, my glass had sat for nearly an hour, and had softened significantly. At $5.99, it’s a gem. Re: Mr. Ryan’s remarks–I’ve found that good pinot noir for less than $16-18 is hard to find. I don’t know the prices at TJ’s for the wines he listed–and I realize working from pinot noir to the blend in the Monte Ducay was the correct order–but I figure the pinots had to be more expensive.

    Two other recommendations: TJ’s offering of Sauvignon Republic’s sauvignon blanc from NZ (Marlborough) is another great deal, at $6.99. Also, check the Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz at $5.99–both are affordable everyday wines.

    • Dear Bill– thanks for the tips on Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz. I have tried other CC’s and LOVE them. Totally underpriced vino.

      The Monte Ducay is a great wine with a cheese. $6

    • If you want a great $11 (or less, 8.99 now, on sale) try the Block #45 Pinot Noir at Whole Foods Market. It’s a wine I source and create for them and we were determined to make it THE BEST CA pinot noir around $10. Hope you like it! Cheers, Alden Marin

  4. I would take the advice not to try the Darien you drank, but the one I grabbed a couple months back had not a single flaw in your linked description. Barely any tannins, no tartness, and quite ripe-tasting rather than green. I don’t know the explanation, but your bottle was certainly different.

  5. @MattRyan If you do give it a 2nd go let me know what you think. I’m wondering if me and Tempranillo just may not be getting along right now based on @Don’s response below. Perhaps I’ll hit the tasting in SF this weekend and see if I can’t get to the bottom of this!

    @HeathCliff Glad you were a fan of the Malbec! Sounds like you’ll be enjoying it throughout the summer. Any others your a fan of that you would like to share?

    @Bill This one definitely improved as it softened, if I do buy it again I will be sure to let it get a few hours of air before serving.

    @Don Perhaps Tempranillo and I just aren’t getting along right now. I did modify my statement on the Darien above to be less damning based on your positive experience and some similar notes from others.

  6. Just saw this in the latest Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer:
    “Monte Ducay Reserva comes from Bodegas San Valero, one of Cariñena’s largest cooperatives. Cariñena lies in the Aragón region of Spain, and is one of the oldest protected growing areas in Europe. This wine is an earthy blend of Tempranillo (60%), Garnacha (30%) and Cariñena, aka Carignan, (10%), aged 14 months in American oak, then an additional 24 months in the bottle to earn the “Reserva” designation. Blackberry, spiced plum and vanilla flavors characterize the flavor profile, and its smooth finish is accented by the reserved tannins typical of the region. Not so typical is our price of $5.99 a bottle.”

  7. Saw this listed in the Fearless Flyer today and the reason it piqued my interest is because of the vanilla note listed in this blend. Does anybody pick up on that with this one?

    • Guessing they are referring to a creamy vanilla imparted by the barrel on the finish. That said I never picked it up, perhaps others have…

  8. What a day. Low humidity, cool breeze. This is a rare occurrence in Virginia in late June. Nonetheless, the wife opened the Trader Joes, Sicilian standby, Mr. Nero. Little did she know, I had tagged some Monte Ducay. I popped it, poured a nice glass using the aerator (this wine needs some air), and brought her a glass on the patio. You know you have good one when you hear, “wow”, ” Mmmm”‘ and “Ahhh” in paced procession. The nose Is the first attack, blackberries, caramel wood (perhaps here is the vanilla note), the first sip and the berry becomes cherry with just the right acidity and tartness. The liquid is smooth, almost polished. The finish is smooth, lingering. We paired this with afresh spinach Saldana with heirloom tomatoes, and asiago dressing, followed by chicken ravioli with marinara, spiked with a bit of red wine and kalamata olives.

    Better beat me to the Trader’s, time to load up.

    • Can’t agree more with Nesirsieh – just finished a bottle with a friend on the patio – very smooth, rich and yummy – I don’t know all the wine experts lingo but we know what we like – this is a winner – especially for the price.

  9. I just picked up a second bottle of this, and recommend it highly. I wouldn’t classify myself as a connoisseur, but I have a pretty good knack for finding good bottles for under $10, and this one definitely makes my list. Rich and quite complex, with nice finish. Me likey…

  10. Our San Diego TJs had a new endcap of Castillo de Monseran Granacha, 2008, also from Cariñena. Unlike some Spanish reds, which are a bit too tannic as sippers, this on goes down quite smoothly. It also went well with some leftover steak, blue cheese and tomato on a cracker, and even our freshly made pesto!

    Bouquet of tobacco and fruit (raspberries?); the sip brought some cherry with a white pepper finish, but much more delicate than the Chariot. At $4.99, it’s worth checking out.

    CellarTracker gives it a median rating of 85, with 9 people rating.

  11. I enjoyed Monte Ducay. I was surprised by the packaging and also by the wine. I will have to experiment with administering more air to it. I have to get one of those convenient aerators (gurgolator?) that are so much more convenient than the alternative. Anyway, my main message is that the TJ’s Marques de Riscal is a great value. I’m going there in a couple of weeks since they have the fantastic Gehry winery and wanted to try it. It’s a terrific value at TJ at 14.99 and blew me away when I tasted it. I’m looking forward to a few days in Rioja in early September.

  12. Just tried some Monte Ducay. It is funny because I was going to try a different wine and was persuaded by the salesperson who repeated exactly what I read above the flier said…earthy, oak, etc…I don’t like oaky wines so I almost put it down but liked the package so I said, I’ll try it. I was doing a million things at home and had poured a glass and it sat there for a good 20 -30 minutes. I poured some olive oil on a plate, sprinkled some fresh basil, oregano and parmesan on top of the oil, took the bread out of the oven cut a piece put in my mouth, look for the wine try it and it was great. I had to look at the bottle to make sure it was a Carinena. I thought it was a good cab. I enjoyed it

  13. This one still costs an Abe Lincoln where I live, and a pretty good wine for that price. It’s our usual pizza wine…I open it, pour a couple of glasses, and by the time I go get the ‘za, it’s nicely aired. Oak, fruit and spice in just the right amounts to complement good plain, faux-Italian fare.

  14. Absolutely the best $5.99 wine I have found yet at TJ’s. It is a bold red and some air time helps but don’t expect it to soften much. Drink with food and enjoy.

  15. I used this wine in cooking a homemade French Onion Soup. I found that yes at first it was a bit sharp, but then softened after a few minutes. I found it to be not so fruity, but with a godo flavor and smooth finish on the palate. I would say considering the price, it was not a bad choice, and yes it did go really well with the Gruyere cheese we used for the soup. It was an excellent pair for our meal. I also feel that Lamb would have been good with it as well.

    • a few of my favorite wines are: ‘Spanish Quarter’ Red Tempranillo 2006 or 2007, ‘Sebastiani’ Pinot Noir 2007, Marques de Caceres 2005….just to name a few. I am always looking for a good bargain wine, and I have a soft spot for Spanish wine. :)

  16. I bought a couple of bottles because of the packaging. I look for interesting wines under $10.00. I had the same reaction–started to cook and opened the “Ducay”- and thought “Oh well another cooking wine.”
    About 40 minutes later picked the glass up again–incredible. It smoothed out with a rather complex nose. The legs looked like 13.5%- (actually 13.0%-yeah me!) Had steak and this was a perfect compliment to that meal. Not the best wine I have ever had–but certainly the best $6.00 bottle.
    If you haunt TJ’s try the COCOBON – a young blended red from California. They cannot keep it in stock–you may have to reserve it from them.

  17. Bill Dobb, you made a comment about “another cooking wine”. You should never cook with a wine that you would not drink yourself. The food will be only as good as the wine you are using in it. This has been my personal experience, and I have also heard chefs say this as well. I have made my chicken cacciatore (it’s one of my family’s favorite meals) with differing Spanish wines with differing grades. The better ones always made the dish SO much better! So never cook with a bad-tasting wine!!

  18. I tried this wine with grilled Polish sausage and sauerkraut loved it!!! Gonna try it with some really strong cheese and dark sea salt chocolate next time. Mine was a 2006 vintage.

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