Wines of Spain – Grenache, Tempranillo, Syrah

Vina Borgia Spanish Wine

Let me wax rhapsodic about the virtues of Spain.  I am a vinous everyman, I too, even after 15 years and thousands of wines tasted, smelled, spat, excoriated, cursed or elevated, seek that rarest of intersecting elements; character and value.  The world is loaded with mediocre plonk, dumbed-down least common denominator juice fashioned not to please but rather not to offend.    I will not join that zombie tide of forgettable grape squeezings. I want a wine to hold my interest without emptying my wallet and thus it is that I head to the Spanish aisle.

Spain is a poor grape fiend’s paradise; it’s among the top five wine producing countries in total volume, with more acres under vine than any other in the world (and best of all, they export less than 20% of what they make).   Wine is integral to the national character here and the country’s inhospitable soils are littered with acre after acre of old or ancient vines.   And wouldn’t you know it, suffering ancient vines make compelling statements once in bottle.


wines of spain tempranillo venta mazzaron

Everyone knows Rioja and its elegant native grape Tempranillo, but there are other flavors dotting the country from coast to coast.  While the French may lay claim to prominence with Grenache, northeastern Spain provides a glittering array of claims to superiority, most of which originate in Calatayud.  Perhaps the most dazzling value of the bunch is Vina Borgia, 1.5 L for a mere $14.49 (UDABC CODE 914133) from 60+ year old vines, this is deep dark richly textured Grenache with trademark aromas and flavors of violets, baking spices and black cherries.

The values are everywhere; Zamora in northwest Spain is loaded with old Tempranillo vines that sit on cool hillsides with sandy soil.  Venta Mazzaron $15.99 (UDABC CODE 916360) is a ripe supple beauty that shows a ripe, polished black fruit anise and espresso characters.


Wines of Spain - Luzon Jumilla syrah

Or you could head to the Mediterannean Coast to Jumilla, where Bodegas Luzon manufactures one of the more stunning values in the Universe, the “Luzon” (UDABC CODE 917620) a blend of old vine, dry farmed Syrah and Mourvedre which is loaded with ripe black fruit characters, earth, smoke and chocolate notes.  It is a stunner that weights in at 14.5% for a mere $8.99.


Please join me at Caputo’s downtown on March 14th for more reasons why Spain makes your mouth and wallet sing in unison.



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