I was picking up dinner at Whole Foods and right before I hit the check I saw a Spanish wine for $8.99 and my heart fluttered.
I have a soft spot in my heart since I studied abroad in Spain while in college, although I have to admit–get ready to cringe–I drank a lot of calimocho when I was there. That’s a drink made from red wine, coke and grenadine. I grimace now, but six years ago, in a sweaty club blaring David Guetta, that was the thing to drink in Spain. Despite the calimocho and the cheap sparkling wine, I did squeeze in a nice Rioja every now and then.
Back to Whole Foods and the Garnacha. I picked up a bottle and tried it immediately when I got home.
As soon as I popped it open, I got a whiff of alcohol–this wine was strong. The alcoholic smell and taste makes sense with the Monastrell grapes, which tend to amp up the alcohol level and add a dryness to a wine.
It’s the type of wine that makes you pucker. Super bold, super chewy, it warms up your tongue. It’s a deep purple, and yes that purple showed up mixed with my toothpaste in my bathroom sink later that night. The deep color probably comes from the Garnacha Tintorera grapes, which have red skin and red pulp, different from other grapes that have red exteriors and white interiors.
I had it again two days later while catching up on Homeland and it’s punchiness resided slightly, but just barely.
According to the bottle, the grapes were grown “between 700 and 1000 meters above sea level, within the region of Almansa, we selected those [grapes] who can design a unique wine that combines complexity, structure and intense color with the explosion of fruit and ease of consumption…”
Nuts and Bolts
- Winery: Laya
- Type: 70% Garnacha Tintorera/30% Monastrell
- Origin: Almansa region of Spain
- Vintage: 2012
- Price: $8.99
- Alcohol content: 14.5%
- When to drink: After coming off the slopes in Big Bear, warming up in your cabin.