La Maldita Garnacha Rioja 2015

Brand: Produced by one of the “oldest winemaking families in Rioja”, with the intention of inspiring “a resurgence of the Garnacha varietal in the Rioja region of showcasing that world-class Garnacha can still be produced there”. The name ‘La Maldita’ means cursed, and is what many winemakers in Rioja refer to Garnacha as. Thin, sensitive skin and low yields were one of the reasons that most Garnacha vineyards have been replanted with “less temperamental varieties”. Although historically the Garnacha used to represent “roughly half of the entire region under vine, today it accounts for less than 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja”.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from sustainably farmed, estate-owned, high elevation vineyards with gravel and alluvial silt “which help with drainage and contribute a hint of minerality to the wine”. The majority of the wine rested on its lees in stainless steel for a few months, whilst a small percentage was aged in small French and American oak barrels “for a hint of complexity”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of wild berries, black pepper and brambly shrubs. Flinty mineral driven, with fresh blackberry and tart cherry flavours. Crushed black peppercorn and fresh berries linger on the dry finish. Simple and pleasant, best with food, a cheerful, gluggable Garnacha.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Enjoy with everyday favorites such as pizza, pastas, burgers, and grilled vegetables.

100% Garnacha
Rioja
Spain
Produced and Bottled by Viñeds La Maldita
13.5% Alcohol
$9

Rated 89 points by the Wine Advocate

Zestos Tinto Old Vines Garnacha 2015

zestos15

Brand: Zestos wines are the product of Manuel Martinez, a 3rd generation winemaker whose family has been producing wine in Madrid for centuries. He owns Viños Jeromin, an organically farmed bodega that crafts wine from 3 different districts within the Madrid DO.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from high elevation vineyards of San Martin Valdeiglesias, just northwest of Madrid. Located at 574 m [1,883 ft] in elevation, with granite and sand soil, the vines were planted from 1960 to 1970. The San Martin area is known for producing “the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain”. Vinified and aged “in cement and stainless steel tanks to emphasize the purity of flavor and the youthful, fresh character of the Garnacha grape”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of candied flowers, strawberry, cherry, a hint of pink peppercorn and earth. Super fruity with cherry, plum, blackberry and black cherry dusted with black pepper. A streak of anise and mint compliment the bright fruit flavours. Minerals, along with returning black pepper and cherry comprise the dry, supple finish. Easy drinking, versatile and a fantastic value.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: “Put it next to any casual foods you care to: pizza, Panini sandwiches, pulled pork sliders, fajitas, cheese quesadillas, and pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. This is an “easy quaffer” wine, as well. If you don’t have any aged manchego or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese handy, just pour some in your glass and enjoy!”

100% Garnacha
Vinos de Madrid
Spain
Bottled by N.R.E. 2B/40.527-M for CÍA de Vinos del Atlántico
13.5% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now

Fronton de Oro Tradicional Tinto Gran Canaria 2014

frontondeoro
Estate: Fronton de Oro is a family winery headed by Pedro and Antonio Ramírez and is located in the hills of Gran Canaria Island, in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. The majority of the 6 hectares of vineyards are located above 1000 meters on terraced slopes with volcanic soils. Gran Canaria received its DO [Denominaciones de Origen] status in 2000, making it the youngest wine region in the Canary Islands.

Winemaking: Although not certified, organic farming and methods are used. Grapes are sourced from high elevation vineyards with volcanic soils. Aged for 3 months in used American oak. Less then 4,000 cases produced.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, earth, spice and a hint of leather. There is a smoky, volcanic edge to the black cherry, raspberry and dried herbs. Firm tannins compliment dark chocolate, spice and earthy minerality on the moderate finish. Powerful flavours, yet very easy drinking and a fantastic pairing with a wide variety of dishes, especially anything roasted.

100% Listán Negro
Gran Canaria
Spain
Produced & Bottled by Hoya Camaretas S.L.
14% Alcohol
$17
Enjoy now thru 2019

Cellar del Roure ‘Vermell’ Valencia 2012

vermell

Estate: Cellar del Roure is an ancient winemaking estate located in Valencia, southeastern Spain. Headed by Pablo Calatayud, the property still has its original subterranean cellar dug into the bedrock. Many of the original terracotta amphorae were preserved in perfect condition, as well as their connecting “stone channels carved into the rock, serving as the most rudimentary form of gravity flow”. As an advocate for indigenous grapes, Pablo Calatayud seized this as an opportunity to “champion indigenous viticulture” and reinvigorate the estate. While modern techniques are still used for many of the wines, three [Cullerot, Vermell and Parotet] are crafted with a few ancient techniques and aged in terracotta amphorae in the original cellar.

Winemaking: The vineyards are sustainably farmed. Grapes were hand harvested from 15 year old vines in clay and sandy loam soils. Fermented with natural yeast, aged for 6 months in terracotta amphorae buried in mud.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of wild berries laced with smoke. Light on its feet with a fantastically super spicy, dry, lengthy finish. The amphora ageing contributes an engaging plush softness to the berry notes. A wonderful light fruity wine that stands up to its spicy finish and pairs perfectly with all barbeque and grilled plates.

40% Monastrell, 40% Garnacha Tintorera, 20% Mandó
Valencia
Spain
13.5% Alcohol
$15 [average price]

Rated 90 points by the Wine Advocate

Vinya Escudé ‘Rosat Nature’ Cava Brut NV

escudecava

Winery: Celler Jordi Lluch is a family winery located in in Sant Quintí de Mediona, in the heart of the Penedès region of Catalonia, Spain. The family has been making wine for many generations, but only started producing for the public in 1984. The Vinya Escudé label was created in 1992 when they began bottling their wines. The estate consists of 25 hectares which are supplemented by neighboring growers to meet their needs.

Tasting Notes: Coppery pink in colour with aromas of strawberry and a hint of funk. Dried strawberry and leather notes are complimented by mellow, consistent bubbles. A pleasantly bitter element lingers on the dry finish. Like a fizzy fruit roll up, an enjoyable change of pace combining bubbles and rosé.

100% Pinot Noir
Cava
Spain
Produced by Jordi Lluch
12% Alcohol
$15
Enjoy now