2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another incredible value and full-throttle wine made from 100% Grenache, Herencia Altes’s vineyards are situated high on the hillside above the village of Batea, where grapes have been grown since the 15th century. This offering, from very old vines and aged completely in concrete, is a naked, unadulterated, unmanipulated effort with great minerality (from the chalky, limestone soils) and an intensity and richness (from the old vines) that are normally found in $50+ wines. As I told Eric Solomon, at these ridiculously low prices, consumers will never suspect the wines are at this level of quality. This outstanding 2011 offers loads of kirsch, raspberry, licorice, garrigue and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied and dense, it is best consumed over the next 2-3 years. A killer value, it is a custom cuvee made for Eric Solomon by proprietor Nuria Altes.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(raised on its lees in concrete vats): Dark ruby. Suave black raspberry and Asian spice aromas are complicated by notes of violet and allspice. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors and showing remarkable depth and intensity for the price. Spicy and silky on the finish, which leaves anise and raspberry notes behind. Here's yet another example of how Spain leaves the rest of the world in the dust when it comes to value in red wine.
100% garnaxta negra from the small DO of Terra Alta in southeastern Catalunya, near the borders of Aragon and Valencia. Known locally as 'pañal,' the soils here are predominantly sandy clay with some calcareous content, imparting a distintive mineral character to the the wines. This pure, juicy, spicy garnaxta gets its depth from a foundation of fruit from very old garnaxta bush vines, which is balanced by the the youthful intensity of younger vine fruit. Continental winds from the north and oceanic breezes from the east temper this region's sunny Mediterranean climate, prolonging the growing season, promoting concentration, and preserving freshness.