the elefante in the room – a spanish tempranillo

June 27, 2011  |  wine review

What a surprise it was to open the 2009 Elefante tempranillo – shiraz, from Tierra de Castilla. Castilla is the setting of Miguel de Cervantes novel, Don Quixote, and is the spiritual heart of Spain. Elefante is named in honour of a bull that achieved a unique feat – twice receiving a pardon for exceptional bravery.

Despite favourable exchange rates, it staggers me that such a fine wine can be on sale in Melbourne at – wait for it – $10 a bottle. The wine was purchased from Cloudwine – a specialist retailer with three stores in Melbourne. Cloudwine focuses on small producers and have some gems, which they will deliver anywhere in Australia. Contact details are or +613 96996700. Ask for Chris.

Elefante thrills! It is a bold wine and opens with lifted berry/cherry/stewed fruit and some burnt wood (oak chips?) It’s travelled thousands of kilometres, however the wine is in great condition with enticing brick red colour. Elefante delivers, in true tempranillo fashion, a savoury palate that makes it an excellent food wine. It’s full bodied and beautifully balanced and has length to delight to the finish, even though the charred oak hangs around. I’ve never seen this blend before. It works well with the savoury and structured tempranillo complemented by the ripe berry characters of the shiraz.

I have scanned domestic producers for wedding wines – many much more expensive – but have not found anything to match the quality and value of this little gem. Apparently it’s still available so do yourself a favour and get a case. The wine is 14% alcohol; 60% tempranillo and 40% shiraz. I have given it 90/100 – which surely must represent the best value wine on the planet.

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