A trendy tapas restaurant in Old Pasadena, a tasty offering of small plates, a well designed wine list with a good selection of Spanish wines by the glass: this looked like the best recipe for a great evening. Unfortunately, two out of the four wines that we ordered by the glass were plainly undrinkable.
We started with a Viña Nora Albarino and a Faustino V Rioja Blanco. We liked the Albarino a lot. It was floral, fresh, zesty. But we were pretty disappointed by the Rioja, which tasted flat, tired, and had very little flavors. We told our waitress about the wine but decided to move on and try some red wines instead: a Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva and a Borsao Campo de Borja, which is a Garnacha/Tempranillo blend from the region of Aragón. The Rioja had bright fruity and spicy flavors, perfect with our Spanish meatballs in a mushroom sauce. The Borsao, on the other hand, had an unpleasant port-like pruny taste.
This was a real surprise to me to find so many oxidized wines that evening. How could such a fairly upscale restaurant not properly avoid wine spoilage in its uncorked bottles?
Complaining a second time, we finally got a free Priorat Garnacha. And this one was fine.
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