The Grenache or Garnacha grape is a widely grown grape in Spain and most of the world (Burgundy, France in particular). The grape itself is known for intense red fruit flavors, lack of acidity and tannin, which is why its blended often. Although in decline in Spain in favor of temprillio and bobal vines the grenache grape has a large foothold in the Spanish wine landscape in the past and present. The main region for some of the best and most delicious grenache wines in Spain is the Priorat region.
The Priorate region of Catalonia, Spain is an ideal because of its climate, terraces and soil. The very best garnacha of the region come from a mix very old extremely low-yielding vines and new vines. This directly translates to the wine having properties not comely known in the grape like a deep dark red color, dense, high fruit concentration, tannin, notes of blackberry, fig and tar.
Clos Erasmus and Laurel
Close Erasmus and Laurel wines are from one of my favorite vineyards and producers of Garnacha in all of Spain. Vintage after vintage winemakers Daphne Glorian and Ester Nin make some of the most complex and deep wines in the region. Aged anywhere from 18-20 months in 2/3 new French oak barrels the Clos Erasmus vintage typically exhibit ripe cherries, red fruit and balsamic on the nose, a great balance of acid and mineral on the palate and wonderful finish. There is a lot of care and thought put into this wine and it shows in glass.
The Laurel vintage is aged between 16 and 18 months in French Oak. This vintage shares many of the same characteristics and quality of its more expensive sibling. This weekend I opened a 2009 vintage (for the sake of science) to pair with some tapas. After decanting the wine and throughout the evening it drank better and better. It was highly concentrated with cherry, blackberry aromas, a palate of raspberry, spice and tannin. Probably should have gotten another bottle….. or two.
The Costers de Vinyes Velles vintage uses grapes from some of their oldest vines dating from 80-105 years. The wine is aged 16 months in new French oak after a 28-35 day maceration period. Bold from start to finish, there is initially a deep aroma of ripe fruits like cherry and raspberry and spice, to a well balanced palate full bodied and silky and almost endless finish.Salanques vintage from Mas Doix is a much newer wine in comparison. The vines range from 15 to 90 years in age, the maceration period is 21-28 days long and the wine is aged 12 months in 50% new French oak. The aroma of wine has lots of dark fruit and spice. I found the 2010 to be nicely full bodied with nice tannin and acidity, but not as complex as some of their other vintages. Save a bottle or two when grilling season starts again because it will pair perfectly with grilled meats.