2011 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta

SKU #1122372 91 points 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.  (6/ 2012)

90 points 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.  (9/ 2012)

K&L Notes

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.

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Price: $8.99

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By: Joe Manekin |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 2/13/2013  | Send Email
This humbly priced Garnacha is an overachiever. Having enjoyed the accompanying Garnacha Blanca from this Terra Alta winery (also highly recommended by the way!) I can't say I'm surprised by how good this is for the money. It shows a surprisingly rich fruity character, initially showing a ripeness suggesting fig paste; with air the wine shows increasing freshness with a lovely, wild thyme and rosemary character (the so-called wild herbs or "Garrigue" of southern France also grow over much of Spain). For the price, this is a tough one to beat for an everyday, characterful red.

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14