2009 Bernabeleva Garnacha De Viña Bonita Vinos de Madrid
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(100% garnacha, grown on sandy soil): Bright ruby-red. Sexy aromas of strawberry, raspberry, fresh rose and Asian spices, with slow-building minerality and a hint of white pepper; smells like a serious Vosne-Romanee. Then silky, sweet and expansive in the mouth, with deep but energetic red fruit and floral pastille flavors that stain the palate. Very pure wine with excellent finishing thrust, cut and length. This alluringly perfumed garnacha is balanced to age but I find it delicious right now.
In the Sierra de Gredos mountains, just to the south of Madrid, some pretty amazing Garnacha is being made around the village of San Martin de Valdeiglesias. Catalan winemaker Marc Isart Pinos is taking old vines, (in this case from a vineyard of decomposed granite with only 18 inches of topsoil), applying excellent viticultural work, fermenting in foudre with some whole clusters used, as well as long maceration on the skins for further complexity, and bottling with a minimum of sulphur to create a beautiful, expressive wine. This bottling is different from our other Bernabeleva wine in that it's a bit more intense, sacrificing just a hair of brightness for depth of flavor. If your frame of reference for garnacha is the inexpensive co-op stuff, the dressed up pricier co-op stuff, or Priorat, then you need to try this to enhance your perspective, as well as change your mind about what this grape is capable of in Spain. I'll take this over 99.99% of Chateauneuf du Pape - maybe even Rayas. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)