One of the best ways to really get to know a grape and understand the influence of viticulture and winemaking styles and techniques is to do a horizontal tasting. The only real rule is that all of the wines must be from the same vintage year and by different producers. After that, you can decide any additional requirements such as a singular grape varietal or particular appellation. Its fun and entertaining to come up with a variety of guidelines that can be mixed up however you desire. I did a mini horizontal tasting with the following: a pair of Garnacha from the 2012 vintage, from the Campo de Borga appellation in Spain, both 14% alcohol and both right around the same cost. The wines were each fantastic, and the differences [from plush and concentrated to refined and graceful], between the two were rather impressive.
PdM Moncayo Garnacha 2012
Estate: Bodegas Pagos Del Moncayo is a family winery located at the foothills of the Sierra del Moncayo in Campo de Borja in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain. The Albar family has been growing grapes for centuries in the Campo de Borja region; the winery is their dream to transmit the passion and experience of those centuries of Garnacha cultivation. They have slightly over 7 hectares of vineyards containing Garnacha and Syrah vines that are cultivated using “artisanal techniques” such as all vineyard work from pruning to harvest is done by hand.
Philosophy: “To combine tradition and technique”. The family is “committed to an artisanal way of production” in order to craft wines that “retain the purest flavours of this land and give them a strong character”.
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from the La Marga vineyard, which consistently produces their best Garnacha grapes. More then 5000 vines are cultivated on slight slopes with clay based soil. Grapes were foot stomped or treaded, a tradition inherited from their parents “that has proven to be most effective for extracting the full potential of a good quality grape”. The wine was aged for 10 months in American oak barrels. Only 13,600 bottles were produced.
Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with robust aromas of chocolate, cedar and vanilla. Concentrated, fleshy flavours of black cherry and black current were flanked by chocolate and espresso hints in the full body, whilst chili pepper, sweet cherry and toasted oak notes comprised the lengthy, velvety finish.
Campo de Borja
Bottled by Pagos Del Moncayo
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2017
Rated 89 points by the Wine Advocate
Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha 2012
Winery: Ruberte Winery is located in the province of Zaragoza, in Campo de Borja in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain. It was founded over 50 years by Andrés Ruberte, who pioneered wine production in the town following his return from oenology courses in Barcelona. Today the 24 hectares of vineyards and winery are run by his children Susana and Felix.
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from old vines, the wine was aged one month in French oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, woods, and herbs. Tart cherry and red currant notes glided atop an herbaceous undercurrent, whilst leather and traces of sweet oak lingered between each refined sip.
Campo de Borja
Bottled by Bodegas Ruberte S.L.
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2016
Samples submitted for review purposes.