2005 Bodegas Tintoralba SCL Higueruela Grenache, Almansa (Previously $9.99)

SKU #1024272

A "Best Buy" designation from Wine Enthusiast: "Mostly Garnacha (with 12% Syrah), this Mediterranean-styled wine is locked and loaded on the nose: There’s a ton of mineral, sunshine and earthy blackberry aromas. The palate is full with cherry and raspberry, and the acidity is strong enough to keep the wine stable. In the end it’s almost lean and perky." (12/15/2007) Value simply oozes from this rich red. The 2004 got 90 points from Parker and this review: "The Higueruela is a fruit-driven effort that sees no oak. Old vines, low yields, and impeccable winemaking have resulted in a dense ruby/purple-colored wine with medium to full body as well as a delicious kirsch, blackberry, currant, licorice, and spice-scented bouquet. The 2004 comes across like a fine French Chateauneuf du Pape. It also possesses a seamless personality with well-integrated tannin. This is a beautiful example from a little-known Spanish appellation. Consume them over the next 2-3 years as it is not meant to improve in the bottle."

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Price: $8.99

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Varietal:

Grenache

- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.