An indigenous Spanish grape. So obscure it only gets a fleeting mention in the Big Bumper Book of Grapes recently published by Jancis Robinson. Most of the discussion elsewhere focusses on whether or not it is the same as Graciano or a clone. I’ve no idea since I’ve never tasted the latter, at least on it’s own. This blogger has done a lot of research, if you are interested. Anyway I’ve recently tried two wines which contain the grape, in varying proportions. The first is Barbazul. Made in Arcos de la Frontera about 40k east of Jerez, 50% tintilla. First tried in Jerez in the El Reino de Leon ‘gastrobar’ which, despite that self-description does really good food and has an interesting wine list. (Most Jerezanos pick Rioja if they are drinking red, rather than the local stuff.) Liked it so much we (friends I was in Jerez with) bought half a case each from Noble Green Wines. About £10. Their comment, ‘given that it’s such a high alcohol wine [it’s 14.5%], predominantly fruitful with a relatively low tannins. In the mouth it almost has a sweetness but then the dryness predominates as the flavours lengthen.’ I’d add that the tintilla gives it a spicy and very appealing nose.
The other wine is Moncloa, also made in Arcos, by Gonzalez Byass. Mainly cabernet sauvignon and syrah with, according to the website a ‘small proportion’ of tintilla and merlot. First tried this in La Carbona, a very traditional Jerez restaurant, set in an old bodega. Still available form Waitrose online at £15. A very smooth, very ripe wine, lots of fruit with a dryish finish. Very drinkable but nothing like a typical Spanish red.