Spain’s prime red grape variety Garnacha-based wines (or Grenache as known internationally) are an anonymous heroine of modern winemaking. One region that does justice to the charm of this variety is the north-easterly located region of Aragon. With a unique geographical location and a surrounding competition from La Rioja, Catalonia, Navarra, Castilla y Leon, and Somontano, the region is one of the few accredited areas for winemaking. It’s strong, dark, age-worthy, charmful wines are surely the new showstopper this year.
Aragon has an impressive climatic pattern. The diversity in wine-styles in not only due the winemaker’s caliber but also how the altitude alters the working conditions. It can be nodded in acceptance that it has the most contrasting terroir representation amongst its neighboring areas. The area has warm and cool patches apt for red varieties’ growth and they exploit the conditions to flourish. Some whites are also produced but they do not gather many accolades under the shadow for their counterparts.Garnacha is the most dominant variety here, as arguably in the rest of Spain too. However, it would be only part-complete without the inclusion of locally important Tempranillo and Carinena varieties. The Aragon history states their initial approach towards winemaking was purely intended towards highest possible yields. Yet the region was a good trademark of bulk produced reds. Now, en-route towards matching international standards in terms of both quality and quantity, they are progressing towards a finer final product. With its rich soil and noble varietals to boast about they have set a perfect platform for those intending to take them onto the next level.Bodegas Leceranas (Evohe 2009-Vino de la Tierra Baja Aragon)Simple, very fruity, likeable. Ripe and not too rich or tannic. Not to be aged.Bodegas Solar de Urbezo S.L. (Altius Garnachas vinas Viejas 2009-SO Carinena)A bit restrained or fruity, crisp, curt, polite and yet fun, somewhat. The finish is very elegant and layered. Bit dusty but also terroir-centric. Complex for the price.Bodegas Aragonesas, S.A. (Coto de Hayes Garnachas Centenaria 2009-DO Campo de Borja)A very elegant Pinot-esque nose. Balanced with fruity facet forward, nice lactic nose on finish. Very Pinot-esque really.Bodegas San Alejandro (Las Rocas Vinas Viejas 2008-DO Calatayud)Mangles oak induced complexity and is likeable, even if not the best value-for-money. Oak part dominates but isn’t hindering. Overall, enjoyable.Bodegas San Valero (Sierra del Viento Garnacha 2007-DO Carinena)Either it is oxidized or it is made in the stereotype Spanish style. Old wine, but seems to lock the concentration. Almost a bit dirty on the nose and finish.Bodegas Barsao (Barsao Tres Picos 2008-DO Campo de Borja)Always likeable, rich and ripe and lasting. A tad expensive and could be cheaper but the brand has equity.Vinedos de Mancuso (Moncaino 2006-Vino de la Tierra Valdejalon)Nicely deep and concentrated, fruity and flesh. Acid with decent grip and chewy fruit. Overall round and drinkable.Grandes Vinos y Vinedos S.A. (Anayon Garnacha Seleccion 2008)A robust style Garnacha, fruity with soft traces of supporting oak, mostly concentrated on the finish-this is youthful and a tad closed. Tannins are strong and fruity dark and strong-bitter with coffee on the end, layered and complex.Pagos del Moncayo (Pagos del Moncayo Garnacha 2009-DO Campo de Borja)Roses and more roses, clean style, super fruity sweet, almost new world, but still restrained. Alcohol beats like a distant drum, pulsating mildly as it flows down.Bodegas y Vinedos del Jalon (Alto Las Pizarras 2008-DO Calatayud)A bit heated but still holds balance, closed on the palate as it appears for now, it shows some locked potential.Crianzas y Vinedos Santo Cristo (Terrazas de Moncayo 2007-DO Campo de Borja)Most appealing (robe too) nose so far, not big, not lavish, just friendly, concentrated, fruity-centric (orangey) and spicy-good mix. Light an even potentially hot but not intimidatingVinas del Vero S.A. (Secastilla 2007-DO Somontano)Rich and dark, like Eddie Murphy, but not as fun. Serious and somber, oak powered, macerated dark fruits, plums and prunes, very deep. Likeable but not a personally preferred style.Bodegas Atteca (Atteca Armas 2007-DO Calatayud)International style with oak backing, but too young and hence oak is dominant. The palate is way more appreciable and tasty, ripe fruity-resplendent and is friendly. One of the more memorable wines.Bodegas y Vinedos Pablo (Gran Viu Garnacha del Terreno 2007-DO Carinena)Nice restrained style, elusive yet alluring, arresting tannins, closed still, great VFMBodegas Alto Moncayo (Aquilon de Borja)Complex layered chocolate, fruity and flowers on the palate. Surprisingly easy to drink. Dark fruit, rose bouquets and sweet sensation of ripe fruits. Hot! Good but not an International style.This Spanish region of Aragon has given the world wines which are both, exotic and rare. Simple and yet worthy of an international arena. The last two decades has seen Aragon rise, especially in terms of quality. The region has altered its image already from a bulk producer to a fine wines purveyor. The neighboring competitors have now something to look out for.