I recently had the pleasure of attending an Aragon Garnacha tasting that showcased Garnacha from its five D.O regions; Calatayud, Terra Alta, Somontano, Campo de Borja and Cariñena. Whilst I throughly enjoyed all ten wines, below are my personal favourites of the evening, wines I found to be exemplary expressions of each ancient, distinctive region in northeastern Spain that they hail from.
Aragonesàs Fagus de Coto de Hayas Old Vine Garnacha 2012
Estate: Founded in 1984, Aragonesas Bodegas consists of 3700 hectares and is located near Fuendejalón and Magallón in the Campo de Borja region of Aragon, northeastern Spain. Since 1145 Cistercian monks of the Monastery of Veruela were cultivating vines on the land, the currant owners inherited the property from their ancestors who were the keepers of this rich winegrowing legacy. Consisting of numerous terroirs, the vineyards extend from the foothills of the Iberian Mountain range to the northernmost regions of the Zaragoza province. The winery has the largest amount of vineyards in the entirety of the Campo de Borja region.
Winemaking: The brand Coto de Hayas was created as a series of wines that “represent the best of what the land can give and what the winemakers can produce”, representing “the soul of Bodegas Aragonesas”. Grapes were sourced from vines aged 40-50 years old, the wine was not fined or filtered and was aged in new French barrels for 10 months.
Tasting Notes: Ruby red in colour with enticing aromas of wild berry compote. Charming and super easy drinking with black cherry and raspberry along with hints of velvety vanilla in the medium body. Cigar box spice and lingering berry compote elements comprised the sweet and spicy plush finish.
Campo de Borja
$22 [average price]
Viñas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha 2012
Estate: Viñas del Vero was founded in 1986 in the Somontano region of Aragon, northern Spain. Today with their 700 hectares of vineyards, they are the leading winery in Somontano for volume and quality of wines. They practice sustainable and organic viticulture. Along with initiatives to restore indigenous plants, many of the vineyards are located on steep slopes, where the vines act as a natural stabilizer for the land. The estate belongs to the prestigious Association of the Great Estates of Spain.
Philosophy: “To develop a quality, sustainable and environmentally-friendly viticulture industry.”
Winemaking: Located in the most northern part of Somontano, Viñas del Vero has been a firm believer in Secastilla’s potential, and is currently the only winery in Somontano that makes wine from grapes grown in the Secastilla Valley. The vineyards are farmed both organically and sustainably.
Tasting Notes: Brilliant ruby red in colour with aromas of ripe cherry and dried flowers. Fresh and well balanced, this is a relatively lighter-bodied Garnacha with earthy elements framing strawberry and cherry notes, white peppercorn and clean minerals flourish in the polished finish.
Blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Parraleta [At least 85% Garnacha, I could not verify varietal percentages]
Bottled by Viñas del Vero
$12 [average price]
Las Rocas de San Alejandre Viñas Viejas Garnacha 2012
Winery: located 55 miles north of Madrid, Bodegas San Alejandro was founded in 1962 as a cooperative for growers. Today there are over 350 growers that cultivate 3000 acres of vineyards spread across the sunny, rocky slopes of the Zaragoza province of the Calatayud region in Aragon, northeastern Spain. The cooperative’s Managing Director is Yolanda Diaz, who is regarded as a “woman with a mission: to keep a new wind blowing across winemaking in Spain”.
Philosophy: “Let the land speak in the wine.”
Winemaking: Both the growers and winemakers believe in as little intervention as possible in all processes, “remaining faithful to the notion that quality is born in the vineyards”. Vinas Viejas was sourced from non-irrigated vineyards 60-100 years old and aged in American and French oak.
Tasting Notes: A complex, velvety Garnacha with brambly wild berries and dense black cherry wrapped around a core of earthy forest elements backed by smooth tannins and mellow spices in the dry, refined finish.
Produced and Bottled by San Alejandro Coop
$20 [average price]
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