March 2009                               


Wines of the month - Paul DeRose

New Wave Rhones – Spanish Garnacha

Spain has been making wine for a long time, since antiquity in fact, but in the past few years the quality and availability of these wines has increased many-fold. Several grapes blended into red Rhones, including Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan, are also traditional grapes of north-eastern Spain. Many of these wines are now being introduced to the world for the first time. Wines that were once made by a few producers for local consumption are now being made in much larger quantities by many producers and are being shipped around the world. Yes, Spanish wine is making a quality play on the global market.

Grenache, called Garnacha in Spain, is the main grape that goes into reds from the southern Rhone, such as Cote du Rhone and the more highly regarded Chateauneuf du Pape. This grape makes fruity wines in the Rhone with pronounced nuances of dried herbs, licorice and earth. The Spanish version tends to be even more fruity with less earth and herbal flavors upfront. They also happen to be great bargains at present and are becoming more and more widely available here in the US.

Here are some recommendations arranged by price (name of wine region in parentheses):

Alto Moncayo Veraton (Campo de Borja) $26
Las Rocas - San Alejandro Vinas Viejas (Calatayud) $18
Ateca Atteca (Calatayud) $16 *
Borsao Tres Picos (Campo de Borja) $16 *
Borsao Crianza Seleccion (Campo de Borja) $15
Can Blau (Montsant) $15
Capcanes Mas Donis (Montsant) $15
Las Rocas - San Alejandro (Calatayud) $13
Ateca Garnacha de Fuego (Calatayud) $9
Borsao (Campo de Borja) $9
Tres Ojos Old Vines (Calatayud) $9 *
El Burro Kickass (Carinena) $8 *
Borsao Vina Borja (Campo de Borja) $7

* indicates available in Montgomery County