Over the past few years, I have unabashedly become a big fan of the Grenache grape. Whether used as a blending grape in the south of France or on its own in Spain, the spicy berry fruit, perfumed nose and lush flavors have caught my attention. Grenache is the true unsung hero in the red wine world.
Grenache here in America has always had a bad reputation. It was overproduced with high yields and turned into cheap California jug wine. Then there was a fascination with “white Grenache,” a sweet pink wine akin to white Zinfandel. This image has stuck in the mind of many American wine lovers.
In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha, and this is the true home of the grape. For Garnacha to thrive, it needs low yields in the vineyard and a hot, dry climate for the late-ripening fruit. The northeast area of Spain in Calatayud, with its high elevation and relentless sunshine, is perfect.
A fantastic example of Spanish Garnacha is from a producer called Altovinum. Their 2009 Evodia (Greek for aroma) from Calatayud is 100 percent Garnacha made from vines that are 100 years old. Old vines produce less fruit; however the fruit is more complex and intense.
I have to mention that this wine sells for less than $10. Usually a good wine in this price range is super jammy and a fruit bomb. Nothing wrong with that, but the Evodia is so much more. Sure, the black raspberry fruit is there, but this wine has structure, a bit of spice on the finish and is very suave. This will be a crowd pleaser at your next dinner but still get raves from the dreaded wine geek. Remember to stick this beauty in the fridge for 20 minutes before enjoying.
As we are the City of Five Flags, this wine is a perfect fit! The Evodia hails from the Province of Zaragoza, in the region of Aragon, Spain. Recognize any of those names?
Head to the Wine Shoppe at Seville Quarter to experience the pleasures of Evodia.
Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 434-6211, or visit www.sevillequarter.com.
Altovinum’s 2009 Evodia is $9.99 and is available at the Wine Shoppe at Seville Quarter.