Wine: Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha
Region: Calatayud, central Spain
In the glass: Evodia is a deep crimson-red color with purplish streaks, a purple to pink rim with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine is full of pure extracted crushed peppery black fruit, ripe blueberries, boysenberry sauce and spicy vanilla extract from oak, then notes of new American oak by itself, soft jammy berry components and a touch of smoke, licorice root and earthy minerals underlying.
On the palate: Evodia is big and spicy, then juicy in the mouth with nicely complex, concentrated chewy blackberry fruit, licorice root, crushed brambleberries, pepper-laced minerals, and then soft, almost chewy, tannins going into a superbly balanced midpalate that is smooth around the mouth, although retains a sense of freshness from the relatively forward acidity. The deep fruity finish has a nice mouth-feel that lasts for 20-plus seconds, and shows why wines made from Old Vines are profound to taste, from a concentration point of view.
Odds and ends: Although garnacha is a grape varietal that is native to the Rhone Valley in France where it is called grenache, it has been in Spain for centuries. In many cases, the vines from which the fruit for this wine was made are as much as 100 years old. In addition, the dry-farmed vineyards are high up in the foothills of this mountainous region of Spain in pure slate soil. The wine's name is the Greek word for "aroma" and there's plenty of that in this hit-in-the-making for less than $10. Drink it now through 2011, and try it with a grilled piece of flank steak, sliced and medium-rare served with salsa.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.