I can't resist trying Mexican wines. One of my great regrets is not stopping at the Cetto Bodega in
Baja - we flew by on the Baja highway as the cold fog rolled in from the Pacific, all intent in putting in as many miles as possible so we could make down to Bahia de Los Angeles. These guys make real California wine (Baja California - get it?) at a pretty good price point. So - it's turkey time and I wanted to try the L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Private Reserve 2005 with the turkey, but also to see what the Mexicans can do with this varietal compared with the Italians. You don't see nebbiolo outside of Italy very often. I chose a low end barolo to compare it to in order to be fair - the Patrizi Barolo 2008. Both wines clock in at 14%. The Cetto had a very delicate nose of violets with hints of vanilla. Medium bodied with a nice sharp attack - almost tart. Pomegranate and cranberry fruit with a medium-long finish. Great turkey wine. Overall, a good wine, a fair effort for $20.
The Patrizi is much lighter and brickier looking than the Cetto, despite being younger. Very shy nose. Medium bodied but less dense than the Cetto. Red currants. This wine definitely needs food and was good with the turkey, although not a very pleasant sipper. OK wine, not worth the $30.
After a couple of hours the wines opened up a little and diverged in character. The Italian turned to tobacco notes, the Mexican to linzer torte with mint/camphor.
Score this one for the Mexicans.
Right, it's Christmas, so had to throw in another contender - the Ramon Bilbao, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2004.
Tempranillo, 13.5%, 3 years in the barrel. First sip is a wow - soft, luscious, smooth with black fruit mixed with vanilla, coconut, coffee. However, unfortunately, the mouthfeel is a little thin. Also good with the toikey, but would make a good sipper. Too bad, with a little more body and complexity, this would be worth multiple purchases. $26.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!!