Project Garnacha

Project GarnachaGrenache (Garnacha en Español) is a superb everyday wine.  It also tends to be a ”drink it now” wine versus an aging wine.  At least I don’t know of anyone who’s aging Grenache and the older bottles that I’ve tasted haven’t held up.  But bottles in the 2-3 year range are outstanding and affordable.  In fact, nearly each bottle of grenache that I found in my search was within my $10 butt fee.
Grenache is one of my favorite “value wines,” so I thought it would be appropriate to be the first varietal I write about.
Altogether I tasted 16 different Grenaches.  Some were outstanding, some were mediocre, but none of them were undrinkable (additional than one terrible bottle, but I do reckon it was just a terrible bottle - not a terrible batch).  I built-in pure Grenache as well as some Grenache Blends, but I will break out the results of the blends separately from the pure Grenache wines.
The majority of the wines I tasted were Spanish Garnacha, although I built-in a link blends from Australia.  But I was unimpressed by the Australian Grenache.  Fascinatingly, according to Wikipedia, “Grenache is probably the most widely planted variety of red grape in the world.”  I was surprised to read that.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so affordable.Top Picks
My favorite pure Grenache and my favorite bottle overall in Project Garnacha was Yasa Garnacha 2003.  This is a fantastic wine.  It has an incredible herbal bouquet and a complex, fascinating flavor.  It has nice berry flavor with an herby/peppery twist.  I really delight in this wine.  This is more than an everyday wine, it is exciting.  I kept saying, “Wow! That is incredible!” as I drank this wine.  I gave Yasa a 92.  That said, I have since had the 2004 Yasa and was not as impressed.  The 2005 should be available soon and from what I hear, it should be more like 2003.
My favorite Grenache Blend was Abrazo 2002.  This is a nice wine.  It has very prominent black cherry flavor, nice tannins.  Excellent flavor all around.  I certainly recommend this wine and gave it a 91.
Additional Grenache Worth Mentioning
My additional picks were all pure Grenache: Read more

Mas Garnacha, Por Favor!

Here’s is a follow up on Project Garnacha.  First, a quick summary of all the Grenaches I tasted and how they ranked.  In general, I preferred the pure Grenache over the blends.  Spanish Grenache also outperformed Australian in this tasting.  You’ll also notice that the most expensive bottle is at the bottom of the list as a terrible bottle.  I didn’t provide a rating for it as the bottle had obviously gone terrible.  I guess I got suckered on that one.
100% Grenache (all Spanish Wine) Read more

Vega Sindoa Tempranillo Blend

Vega Sindoa Tempranillo BlendToday it’s a followup to Tasting Tempranillo with a Tempranillo Blend.  This one is Vega Sindoa 2005Red Wine, which is 70% Tempranillo and 30% Merlot.  It comes from the Navarra province in Spain.
Similar to the Osborne Solaz Tempranillo Blend, I again was pleased with this compared to most pure Tempranillo that I tried.  There was a lot more fruit present in this than I found in pure Tempranillo.
The negative with this one is it is a bit on the sweet side.  In fact, I would say it’s nearly unnaturally sweet.  I’m not talking dessert wine, but it just has a lot of sugars.  It makes me suspicious that it was sweetened to cover up undesirable flavors.  That said, it is quite enjoyable to drink – just not as complex/fascinating as some additional wines. 
This would probably be a excellent wine for building sangria.  Sangria was my first real drink.  I tried it when I was 13 on a trip to Spain and I’m subdue a fan.
Wine Tasting
My thoughts on this wine:  It has an earthy, herby nose. The palate is fascinating with strawberries (sweetened strawberries) and chocolate as the dominant characteristics. A decent end with a bit of complexity.  This is in fact a nice wine to delight in with chocolates.
 My rating came out to an 85.  I will probably buy this again, as it is a excellent deal at $6.99.  Try it on it’s own or in some sangria.

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Familia Sanchez Tempranillo Blend

Familia Sanchez Tempranillo BlendI stopped by Wild Oats after dinner last nighttime to pick up some dessert to go.  I found some awesome looking chocolate chunk brownies and on the way home was thought “I need to open a nice bottle of red to delight in with these.”  So I got home and reviewed the selections on hand and pulled Familia Sanchez 2005 Tempranillo and Syrah from the rack.
After all this anticipation, I was utterly disappointed.  The brownies where excellent, but the wine… not so much.  I would call this another Trader Joe’s dud.  (I’ll save my “rant on Trader Joe’s” for another time.)
The nose on this wine is much more fascinating and enjoyable than the palate.  It has a complex floral, fruity, alcohol-y nose.  In fact, the aromas were just teasing and building me excited about tasting this wine.
And then, thud… the taste is small on fruit and off-balance with heavy tannins. The end is very long, but that length featured bitter tannins and weak, uninteresting fruit.
Just for the confirmation, I did taste this wine previous to diving into the tasty brownies.  So my palate was not skewed by the delectable chocolate-y sweetness.  The brownies were moist, and full of huge chunks of chocolate.  They get a huge thumbs up and I have to give a shout out to Dancing Deer Baking Companionship for making them.  Yummy!
Wine: Famila Sanchez
Varietal: Tempranillo & Syrah Blend
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 76

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