2006 Viñedos de Ithaca "Penelope" Garnatxa Peluda (500ml)
These may be sweet wines ("dessert wines" if you must) but they are an amazing value, and in a year of many values I’d be hard pressed to think of one that is quite as much a steal as these wines are. You may be familiar with Viñedos de Ithaca, located just outside the beautiful town of Gratallops in Priorat (we carry their "Akyles" as well as the Garnatxa Blanca). Owner Joseph Puig is Priorat's renaissance man. At Viñedos de Ithaca, he is up to something truly unique in the warm, steep, slate terraces of Priorat, growing a diverse variety of grapes which include typical varieties (Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as some more unusual ones (Touriga Nacional, Pedro Ximenez, Garnatxa Peluda Garnatxa Blanca, ). Puig's daughter Sylvia makes the wine, and if you have tasted any of them you know how effortlessly balanced and expressive they are. Garnatxa peluda literally translates as "hairy garnatxa" because of the slightly fuzzy nature of the leaves on these garnatxa (Grenache) vines. A specialty of the winery, this late harvested sweet red wine shows mouthwateringly balanced flavors of strawberry preserves. There is excellent texture as well, though, with a touch of tannin and a wonderfully fine texture that is not forced or heavy as so many sweet red wines tend to be. Truly a one-of-a-kind wine that must be tried at least once, but hopefully more than that.