Producer: Las Rocas de San Alejandro
Region: Calatayud, Spain
Tasting Notes: Cherry, strawberry, cranberry, licorice
Pairings: Rabbit paella, Mongolian beef, grilled meats, ratatouille
Price (approximately): $16
Garnacha (Grenache in France) is often a blending grape for powerful red blends produced in prestigous regions such as France’s Châteauneuf-du-pape or Spain’s Rioja and Priorato. But it can shine on its own, and does so brilliantly in a few Spanish appellations, including Calatayud, where this wine originates.
For a 2012, the wine took longer than expected to open up, so decanting and a little patience is recommended. The nose is greeted with alluring aromas of red fruit (cherry, ripe strawberry and subtle dried cranberry) balanced with herbs, spice and licorice. The palate enjoys smoky and tobacco elements that blend harmoniously with the herbs and spices, while the red fruit still stands strong. A powerful wine with medium, firm tannins and a wonderful, long finish.
This wine has great pairing potential. The herbal and spice characteristics pair brilliantly with dishes containing similar herb and vegetable elements. For example, ratatouille or a winter vegetable gratin. Staying on a Spanish theme, try a hearty paella with rabbit and other gamey meats. If you are feeling a bit more exotic, Mongolian beef, and its sweet/savory Hoisin-based sauce, would be a great balance with the herbs and spices of the Garnacha. Finally, items on the grill pair nicely with the smoky elements of the wine and medium- to full-body, such as a burger or steak. To accent the spicy and herbal elements of the wine, toss on a few grilled mushrooms and herbs.