Friday, June 1, 2007

Wine Blogging Interactive Edition: The Tasting

It's been two weeks since we first announced our inaugural blogospheric wine tasting, and we think it's now time to get on with the actual tasting. As readers may recall, the goal was to suggest an affordable, readily available wine that readers could pick up, drink, and ruminate over, and later discuss with us on the blog.

The wine was the 2004 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha ($10), a wine that neither of us had tried before but one we both ended up enjoying. As we noted before, the wine is from Calatayud in Spain and sourced from 70-100 year old high-altitude vines. It is made in a traditional style, with no new oak, so the low-yielding vines deliver exceptional purity of fruit for the price point.

We offer our individual comments below in the hopes that readers will chime in with their own thoughts. We're very interested in what you have to say, about any aspect of the wine. And if you haven't picked up the wine yet, feel free to comment at any time, as we'll be checking in on this post frequently. (The wine's available at, among other places, Calvert-Woodley in DC, and Sherry-Lehmann and Zachys in New York.)

Jeffrey: I really enjoyed this wine, and it's a steal at $10 a bottle. It's very well balanced and is neither overly tannic nor overly fruity. Interestingly, it wasn't somewhat rough and rustic as I'd expected, but rather more refined. There were strong earthy--almost barnyard--notes on the nose, which I quite enjoyed, although these didn't begin to show on the palate until about half an hour after we'd opened the bottle. Simon can list all the fruit flavors if he wishes--as I've said before, I don't go in for that sort of thing. Definitely recommended if you haven't tried it already.

Simon: I agree with Jeffrey -- this wine is a fantastic value. Deep purplish-red in color, the wine offers up wonderful notes of raspberry and earth on the nose. I would not, however, call the earthy notes anything resembling barnyard. There is no "brett" in this wine, and readers averse to that taste can rest assured this is a "clean" wine. On the palate, the wine initially presented bright raspberry and kirsch flavors, but as Jeffrey noted, over time the wine gained in complexity, picking up weight and offering darker fruit and earthier notes. (I would however, not recommend extended aeration, as the wine had faded by the next evening.) With a good balancing acidity and fine tannins, the Las Rocas is by far the most polished $10 wine I've ever tasted. I did find the acidity a bit more prominent than Jeffrey did, perhaps a touch too high for the level of refinement it strives for. But that's really not a fair criticism, as that would be comparing it against $30 wines, and the racy finish does make it a great food wine.

Update: The wine is also available at MacArthur Beverages in D.C.; Blanchards, Andover Liquors, and Nejaime's Wine Cellars in Massachusetts; and Woodland Hills, San Francisco Wine Trading Company, and K&L Wines in California. For other states, try a search for "Las Rocas Garnacha" on Wine-Searcher.


William said...

All readers should be aware that I saw Jeffrey drinking the Garnacha out of a paper cup.

I thought it was delicious!

(Jeffrey claims he tasted it the night before out of stemware, but I didn't see THAT.)

lukeness said...

I'm not really equipped to comment from an educated standpoint on any wine, but I did manage to find a bottle (thanks for the wine-searcher link... I found it at one store in Colorado willing to ship 50 miles to me) for $15. I finally broke it open tonight and enjoyed a glass. Very nice with my garlic and oil pasta. I will look forward to more of your interactive blogging in the future!