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When you won't spare the best, give Protocolo.

When you won’t spare the best, give Protocolo.

The old adage goes, serve the best wine first and serve the worst last. If you serve Protocolo after your good wine is gone, your guests won’t notice and will be none the wiser.

This wine hails from the Castillo region of Spain. Undoubtedly, as a Tempranillo, the first thing that stands out is its price. If you’re looking for a red and you simply want to impress with an authentic European blend – this is certainly a decent wine to serve. It is light, not acidic, and ultimately great paired with items reds traditionally don’t fair well with – chicken, fowl, and especially duck.




What you need to know

  • Spanish Tempranillos are not Riojas

Protocolo is a Spanish Tempranillo as Rioja very specifically refers to a region from which the wine came from. As such, it has that blend of very dry, earthy, and spicy dirt that gives it its distinct flavor. Not at all like a Bordeaux or a Pinot Noir – Riojas are a class completely unto themselves. Really, only comparable at best to a Chianti if one would think to do such a thing. I certainly wouldn’t.

  • Value

For a sub-$10 bottle of wine, and especially an authentic European import with a known vintage and label, Protocolo cannot be beat. However, for people whom you suspect have discerning palates and may be able to call bullshit on your fancy wine offerings – Protocolo is a dangerous choice. It is not the best Tempranillo in its class but it certainly can’t be beat for the value.  It, however, neutral. Very neutral. And for its value – that makes it a good deal.

  • Cooking Application

This wine will not last long after you open it up. This is not a bad sign in a wine – it simply means it likes to breathe. Which you should let it breathe before you serve it. And undoubtedly, if you and your guests go through two or three bottles and find yourselves with leftovers then this wine makes a great reduction with pork, duck, and sauteed vegetables. Let nothing go to waste in the house of a wine-drinker. And at least if your guests are not impressed with your selection of this Tempranillo, let their palates be satiated with its unbeatable qualities in the kitchen.