2015 Mark Herold Acha Tempranillo

California's Top Tempranillo - Mark Herold Acha

SOLD OUT! I was certainly skeptical about the Mark Herold Acha when my sales rep pitched it a few weeks ago. California Tempranillo? Why should I care about this wine when I have access to a bevy of incredible Spanish Tempranillos? But the deeper I dug, the more I discovered that this was a wine I should try.

Rated 93 points by Antonio Galloni and from vines grown in Lodi from Pingus budwood Mark Herold purchased from Peter Sisseck several years back. I had to try it, and I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, I was quite amazed. If you love Tempranillo, do yourself a favor and get some of this!

2015 Mark Herold Acha Tempranillo

2015 Mark Herold Acha Red

95 points JS (that’s me), 93 points Antonio Galloni


If you’re not familiar with Pingus, no problem. Let me bring you up to date. Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck established this Ribera del Duero estate in 1995. It was an ambitious project and somewhat controversial — what’s a Danish dude doing making classic, traditional Spanish wine? Peter done good! His goal was always to push the limits of old-vine Tempranillo, and he succeeded. He showed up at the 1996 Bordeaux en primeur tastings, bottle(s) in hand, and he was nearly laughed out of the show. But by week’s end, everyone was talking about Pingus. Shortly thereafter, Robert Parker announced the wine on the back cover of his Wine Advocate, bestowing an unheard of 96-100 point score. The world took notice, and Pingus was on its way.

So that’s where we start. Mark Herold and Peter Sisseck have been friends for years, and Mark’s Acha certainly calls to mind top-flight Ribera del Duero. That’s what really blew me away about this one — it tastes Spanish! Offering up all of the rich, ripe, smoky, savory dark fruit pleasure of a Ribera del Duero, this is the best California Tempranillo I’ve ever tasted. From Pingus root stock and grown in the warm, sunny and dry Lodi region, it totally makes sense.

Galloni says the “2015 Acha, 100% Tempranillo, is another wow wine from Mark Herold. Sumptuous, racy and flavorful, the 2015 packs a serious punch. The flavors are dark, bold and incisive. Varietal character comes through mostly in the wine’s structure.” He’s spot-on with that review. Incredibly rich and offering up a huge smorgasboard of aromas and flavors, this is a tour de force wine that won’t break the bank. Ultra-ripe blackberries, black plums, strawberry jam, raspberries, cola, rose petals and dark chocolate abound in the glass. The palate is laden with ethereal flavors of dark fruits, the tannins are impressive yet balanced and the finish lingers and lingers begging for the next sip. Drink now and over the next two decades.

So there you go. Something a little bit different, but something a whole lot delicious. I snagged my distributor’s last 10 cases of this one, and I don’t know how it will fly. I do know that once folks get this home and get it in their glass, they’re gonna’ come back for more. But I can’t guarantee there will be more to be had.  

Josh Spurling
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville


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