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

Joel Gott & Dave Phinney ‘Shatter’ Grenache Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes 2013

shatter13

Brand: Shatter is a collaboration between legendary winemakers Dave Phinney and Joel Gott along with Trinchero Family Estates. Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney, founded the acclaimed Orin Swift Cellars in 1998 [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name.] Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. [Note: Orin Swift (the brand, remaining inventory and the tasting room in St. Helena) was purchased by E. & J. Gallo Winery in 2016. Dave Phinney “will remain involved”.]

Joel Gott is a 5th generation west coast winemaker that began crafting renowned Zinfandels in 1996. His wines are noted for their remarkable value together with his use of high-end California fruit, and fantastic structure and balance. Striving to craft quality wine under $20, in addition to his acclaimed Joel Gott Wines, he is also the man behind the hugely successful ‘Three Thieves’ brand.

Winemaking: Interestingly, the name Shatter refers to a few different components of the wine. First, it is a nod to the extreme viticulture conditions found in the Maury region of the Roussillon in southern France [nutrient-poor soil, strong winds, hot days]. Second, it refers to the phenomenon in which grape clusters fail to develop all their berries after flowering. Generally, this is considered to be one of the hazards of grape growing in the area, but Phinney and Gott embrace it; stating, “It actually decreases yield and intensifies the wines.” And finally, it is a reflection of the black schist soils that resemble shards of broken black glass. The label with its original photo of broken glass further anchors and emphasizes these features.

Grapes were cold-soaked for 30 days to help further concentrate the wine, then fermented and aged in Maury, France, then bottled in St. Helena, California. Aged 10 months in French oak, 30% new.

Tasting Notes: Deep garnet in colour with enticing aromas of dark berries, pepper spice and a hint of vanilla. Rich, sleek layers of clean fruit [cherry, blackberry, red currant, pomegranate], chocolate and crushed black peppercorn are accented by silky tannins, whilst cigar box spice highlights the lengthy, fruit driven finish. A fantastic balance of lush fruit and spice with an elegant edge, do watch out for that 15.6% alcohol, as it does sneak right up.

100% Grenache
Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes
France
Imported & Bottled by Fracture, St. Helena, Napa County, California
15.6% Alcohol
$18
Enjoy now thru 2018

shatterback

Joel Gott & Dave Phinney ‘Shatter’ Grenache Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes 2012

shatter

Brand: Shatter is a collaboration between legendary winemakers Dave Phinney and Joel Gott along with Trinchero Family Estates. Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney, founded the acclaimed Orin Swift Cellars in 1998 [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name.] Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. However, his mission still remains a small, “passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine”.

Joel Gott is a 5th generation west coast winemaker that began crafting renowned Zinfandels in 1996. His wines are noted for their remarkable value together with his use of high-end California fruit, and fantastic structure and balance. Striving to craft quality wine under $20, in addition to his acclaimed Joel Gott Wines, he is also the man behind the hugely successful ‘Three Thieves’ brand.

Winemaking: Interestingly, the name Shatter refers to a few different components of the wine. First, it is a nod to the extreme viticulture conditions found in the Maury region of the Roussillon in southern France. Second, it refers to the phenomenon in which grape clusters fail to develop all their berries after flowering. Generally, this is considered to be one of the hazards of grape growing in the area, but Phinney and Gott embrace it; stating, “It actually decreases yield and intensifies the wines.” And finally, it is a reflection of the black schist soils that resemble shards of broken black glass. The label with its original photo of broken glass further anchors and emphasizes these features.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of dark berries, vanilla and cozy campfire. An engaging density [verbatim from my notes] accentuated by rich layers of black cherry, blackberry and hints of sweet herbs, meanwhile silky tannins, black cherry, chocolate ganache and toasty spices comprise the lengthy finish.
[Watch out for that 15+% alcohol, it quietly sneaks up on you.]

100% Grenache
Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes
France
Imported and Bottled by Fracture, St Helena, Napa County CA
15.6% Alcohol
$18
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate

Arrumaco Garnacha Rosé 2014

arrumaco

Straightforward and refreshing, with a bit of friendly sweetness balanced by a delightful crisp finish, this is a superb value.

Winery: Bodegas Milenium produces table wine or “wine from Spain (VDE)” under the aegis of the Bodegas Gallegas group. Bodegas Gallegas was established over 50 years ago and today consists of 4 large bodegas [in addition to Bodegas Milenium] in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain.

Philosophy: “To create great accessible wines at a price which represents good value for our customers.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards with a mild Atlantic climate and sandy soils. Fermented in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Cherry coral in colour with vibrant aromas of cherry and wet river rock minerals. Food friendly acidity and a dry mineral finish balance cheerful candied cherry and watermelon flavours in each silky, easy drinking sip.

100% Garnacha
Spain
Packed by Bodegas Milenium SL
11.5% Alcohol
$23 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Enjoy now