I’m not someone who buys wine for the label.  Well, at least not usually.  But yesterday we were in our new favorite wine store, Total Beverage, and as we’re perusing their selection of Spanish wine we see this handsome face.  Antonio the Bull.  I immediately fell for the sexy tilt of his horns and the lilting sound of his wine:  Beso de Vino.  That means “Kiss of Wine” but if you say it quickly, it also sounds like “Beso divino” which means “divine kiss.”  Now neither the bottle nor the website mention this little nuance, but if the guys that make the wine are anything like my Spanish friends, that clever play on words was completely intentional.   Nice job!

As I’ve said before, I’m no wine snob. In fact, my mission (should I choose to accept it) is to bring the wonderful world of wine — specifically Spanish wine — to more American back yards.  Which means we need to drop the pretension and the snooty descriptions and just share with people how fun and delicious wine can be.  And Antonio’s Beso de Vino Syrah is, in my humble opinion, just exactly what American back yards need.  In wine lingo it is a fruit forward wine (it tastes like fruit, not like “barnyard”) but it’s not too sweet, and it’s not too dry.  It’s juuuuuussssssttttt right.  One little bonus; this wine uses a new-fangled screw cap that has 3 little holes punched in it (they joke that Antonio didn’t do it), and a membrane that sits inside the cap.  This mimics the effect of oxygen transfer that happens with natural cork, without using the increasingly un-cool cork in the bottle.  Here we have what I think is a match made in heave for American wine beginners and non-snobs; a wine that is tasty, goes great with food, has a sense of humor, and has a screw cap that is better for the environment and doesn’t require special equipment to open it.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

I have a confession to make.  I thought that a $10 bottle with a cartoon bull on the label would be pretty awful wine.  But as soon as I sipped it I was a convert. This straight-up Spanish Syrah from the northeast of Spain, in the region of  Cariñena is a keeper.  I can’t wait to share it with my friends.  Better yet, I can’t wait to go meet Antonio in person!

My next project will be to start sharing the Spanish recipes that I’ve learned while in Antonio’s homeland, and I’m thinking that although Tempranillo may be a more “typically” Spanish grape, and therefore a more traditional compliment to rice dishes, that this Beso de Vino would be a really nice wine to go with paella.  But we won’t know until we try. So fire up the grill, and next time we’ll talk paella!