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What Am I Tasting?

2017
25 August
2017-08-25 00:00:00
2017-08-25 00:00:00

What Am I Tasting?

Tasting Note
Posted August 25, 2017 This lively red offers a juicy, almost crunchy texture, bursting withcherry, strawberry and vanilla flavors, offering light notes of herb and spice. Features lighttannins and citrusy acidity. Bright and fresh.
And the answer is...

Varietal
This wine offers crunchy texture, red fruits, vanilla, herb and spice. These are all key qualitiesthat should help us pick our grape from the bunch.

Cabernet Sauvignon reigns California's Napa Valley, and is also the most important grape on Bordeaux's Left Bank. In general, Cabernets are bold in flavor, with notes of dark fruit and herbs leading the way, usually accompanied by a healthy dose of oak. Our wine's vanilla note is on target for a Napa Cabernet, but the cherry and strawberry fruit flavors are lighter than we would expect, and citrusy acidity is a deal-breaker.

Historically known as the grape of France's Northern Rhône Valley, Syrah has also found success in California and in Australia, where it's often called Shiraz. In cooler climates, this grape is marked by flavors of mint and pepper (both missing here), while in warmer climates it can be more fruit-driven, specifically with jammy or baked fruit flavors. Our strawberry and vanilla flavors, as well as citrusy acidity, aren't a good match for Syrah. Let's soldier on.

In Italy, Nebbiolo is known best as the grape of Piedmont's Barolos. These wines really come out swinging, so they could often use some time to age and mellow out. Our wine's red fruit flavors and herbal notes are common to Nebbiolos, but structurally, the wines don't match up: Nebbiolos are famous for their powerful tannins than can take years to integrate.

Zinfandel is a popular grape in California that can yield wines in many different styles, from dry to sweet. It’s probably best-known as the grape behind the huge white Zinfandel trend of off-dry blush wines from the 1980s. As a red, however, Zinfandel wines are generally marked by dark, jammy fruit, pepper and high alcohol, none of which are present in our wine.

As a French grape, Grenache is known as the main variety in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines of the Southern Rhône. In Spain, the grape is known as Garnacha, and is the key component to the prized wines of Priorat. It's also found a welcome home in Australia and California. Grenache is recognizable for its lighter body, red fruit flavors and spice. When aged in new oak, it can also take on vanilla notes as well.

This wine is a Grenache.

Country
While we already know that Grenache is successful in many countries, Italy is not one of them. In France's Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, where the grape shines brightest, the oak influence is more understated—we're unlikely to find vanilla notes in a Grenache fromFrance. When made in the New World style, from California or Australia, these wines tend to lean more toward jammy fruit and away from bright acidity. In Spain, however, where Grenache is often aged in American oak, we find both that vanilla note and bright fruit flavors.

This Grenache is from Spain.

Age
With descriptors like "bright" and "fresh," it's safe to assume this Grenache is on the younger side, certainly less than five years old. However, as we noted before, the vanilla flavor tells us that this wine has spent some time in oak, so it should be more than two years old. Let's also take a look at the recent vintages from Rioja on the market. 2012 was a drought year resulting in powerful, tannic reds, while 2013's wet growing season left many wines green and diltute. 2014 saw a cool growing season that yielded wines of savory freshness—andthat sounds a lot like our wine.
This wine is from the 2014 vintage, making it three years old.

Appellation
We already know that this Grenache (Garnacha) is from Spain, so we can eliminate Australia's McLaren Vale, France's Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Italy's Barolo and California'sSonoma Coast. That leaves us with Rioja and Jumilla. While both regions are known for high-quality wines, Jumilla's focus is on the Monastrell grape. Tempranillo is the dominant grape in Rioja (as it is for the country as a whole), but Garnacha is the region's second-leading grape.

This Garnacha is from Rioja.
Wine
This is the 2014 Garnacha Rioja from Baron de Ley. It earned 89 points in Wine Spectator'sApril 30 issue and retails for $20; 1,000 cases were made. To learn more about Garnacha and other Spanish wines, check out executive editor Thomas Matthews' tasting report,"Forging Ahead," in the June 30 issue.
 

RiojaWine
RiojaWine Calle Estambrera, 52
2017-08-25 00:00:00
RiojaWine
Calle Estambrera, 52 26006 LOGROÑO (La Rioja). ESPAÑA.
(34)941 500 400 (34)941 500 664 info(at)riojawine.com