Friday, January 31, 2014

El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa Navarra Old Vines Garnacha, 2010

As you have probably discovered, I am a sucker for Old Vines and traditionally made wines. And this wine has the right story: vines averaging 60 years of age, some more than 100 years from an area that is being threatened by new vineyards devoted to more profitable commercial wines. A young New York city chef loves the wine so much she has a glass every day while planning her menus. When she goes to Spain, she meets the winemaker and they form a mother-daughter type bond, cooking together and sharing ideas about food and wine. I fell in love with this wine, and its story, before I bought it. Now, I'm thinking, the story is only half true.

The color is very deep and bluish for Grenache. Looks like a product of barriques (small French oak barrels). At first, I get the funkiness of old vines but this blows away quickly. Blue plums, spice box, black pepper. But again not like the traditionally made Grenache wines of the Southern Rhone that I love so much. Thick and rich on the palate--almost like a Vintage Character Port but without the sweetness. Hmmmm.

A Google search reveals that, yes, the wine has been aged in French oak barriques and left five months on its lees--a process more commonly used for white than for red wines. Other red wines with this leesy quality are Monserrans Garnacha and St. Hallett's Barossa Valley Gamekeeper's Red. That's what produces the thick, raisiny palate feel. Although it's made from old vines, this wine comes with a few new tricks.

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