Las Rocas Garnacha

Wine: Las Rocas Garnacha.

Grape: Garnacha (100 percent)

Region: Calatayud, Northern Spain

Vintage: 2009

Price: $9.99 per bottle.

In the Glass: This Las Rocas Garnacha is a deep crimson red color with purplish streaks coming from a dense opaque core going out into a purple to pink rim with medium-high viscosity.

On the Nose: The wine is full of pure extracted black fruit, crushed marionberries, huckleberries, plum skins and vanilla from oak and then notes of new American oak by itself, soft jammy berry components and a touch of licorice.

On the Palate: This is a big mouthful of a wine with supple, complex and concentrated chewy blackberry fruit, licorice root, crushed brambleberries, minerals and then soft tannins. All this comes together into a superbly balanced mid-palate that is very smooth in the mouth and has touches of red cherries. The finish is a very deep fruity and really nicely lingering sensation that lasts for more than 20 seconds.

Odds and Ends: Las Rocas is the dominant winery in the very small but highly regarded appellation of Calatayud, near the city of Zaragoza, roughly in the northern part of central Spain. While the winery manages vast tracts of vineyard land, the farming has traditionally been dry-farming with untrellised vines that have the appearance of very large old spiders spread out on the gravelly ground. These old Garnacha (Grenache) vines yield very little fruit on an annual basis; perhaps as little as a single grape cluster, meaning the concentration in the wine is fabulous and very focused. These sturdy full-bodied wines demand equally rich food, like a grilled marinated flank steak with roasted potatoes. It should drink well now through 2016, but open it about an hour before consumption to let it “breathe.”

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at

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