Garnacha under $15

Seeing what $10 buys you when it comes to Garnacha

Reticent aromas of raspberry, tar, and old wood appear on the nose which gains subtle dried herb and candied black raspberry nuance with air. Moderately light bodied in the mouth this shows some very attractive bitter fruit flavors early in the moth. Still with fairly firm tannins, this feels nicely structured and firm in the mouth with a slightly chewy edge to the tart red fruits. There’s a little earthy and leathery complexity here which drifts out over the relatively long finish. Very drinkable, well balanced, moderately complex, and with impressive persistence to the fruit, this is a steal. 88pts
Dark, jammy and little spicy on the nose with licorice and lavender scented wild strawberry fruit that shows a little dusty white pepper top note. Moderately big in the mouth this is classic grenache, with real volume in the mouth, and surprising god acids driving tart wild berry fruit that is nicely contrasted against some slightly bitter herbal and root veggie nuance. Not chewy or dense at all, though there are some powdery tannins on the back end along with a dusty mineral note that lingers on the long fresh berry fruited finish. Light, fresh, fragrant and fairly complex, this really is lovely with good energy and drive in the mouth and fabulous purity. 88pts
Dark and mysterious on the nose with slow to emerge aromas of herb stem, plum, skin, mineral earth, and a hint of pencil eraser.  Smooth and a bit matte in the mouth, this unfurls like a robe on your tongue, not heavy but opaque with rich blackberry fruit that shows suggestions of truffles and spice on the palate. the tannins and acid are both totally absorbed in the black hole of fruit on the palate, emerging only on the finish which is moderately long with dusty tannins and fine bitter cherry and pomegranate accents. This is an outlier amongst value priced Garnacha with a refined nature about it. It’s almost aristocratic in its restraint and promise positive improvement in the future. 88pts
Noticeably herbal and medicinal on the nose though in a candied, sweet register with plenty of underlying raspberry fruit. There’s a lot of licorice here as well as notes of dried bay leaf and cracked black pepper. So smooth in the mouth you barely notice it at times. this is really fascinating on the tongue, it’s a bit chewy with moderately rich, dense fruit but so well balanced that it float across the palate. A touch tart, this is more about inner mouth perfumes than flavors per se. A bit indistinct if fresh blackberry fruit on the palate is joined by a bit of calcium and almost a salty edge before fading on the short, grapey and grape seed flavored finish. Incredibly easy to drink, just smooth and fresh with attractive perfumes but not a lot of depth of flavor. Stiil, what’s here is attractive and notably elegant in this company. 87pts
A huge note of violets greet the nose along with a whiff of road tar and hints of vanilla and black pepper all laid over a base of fairly plummy and strawberry toned fruit. Fruity and almost a bit sweet on entry, this quickly turns firm in the mouth and the fairly obvious tannins kick in. It’s a medium bodied example of garnacha, with good acids and a fairly dark fruit profile, with big black berry flavors laid over strawberry accents. there’s a nice violet and licorice tone on the midpalate before this turns firm and slightly drying on the modest finish. This is young and needs plenty of air or a year in the bottle to come out of its shell but the fruit seems to be there as is the balance for a lovely wine to emerge. it’s reticent but with air you can begin to make out the fresh, pure crushed blackberry flavors here and the acids emerge as well, refreshing the palate. 87pts
85% Garnachas 15% Syrah
Hugely aromatic, this explodes in the glass with darkly plummy fruit, sweet licorice candied notes, leather, earth, and candied violet aromas. Soft and compact on entry, there's real depth on the palate here. The tannins sit low in the earthy, licorice driven fruit that is supported by well integrated acids lending this a smooth if slightly chunky feel in the mouth. the fruit is dark, and plummy like the nose, if a bit creamy and dense with violet and boysenberry flavors in the mouth. the tannins really build on the palate, showing a touch of wood tannin on the backend before this fades into a long, minty, medicinal toned finish, which is a little hot. Rich, powerful and a bit on the funky side this lacks a bit of elegance but makes up for that with it extracted, ripe personality. 87pts
80% Garnacha, 20% Carignan
Smoky and a bit funky on the nose and quite leathery like an old catcher’s mitt. This gains nice white pepper spice and floral tones with some air but remains somewhat low key on the nose. Very smooth and polished, another wine that sneaks across the palate with it’s near perfect balance and integration of acid and tannin. the flavors are a bit tart here, with boysenberry and blackberry tones. Soft and juicy on the backend this gains some old wood notes and a bit of floral and spice character of the nose before fading away on the light, elegant, slightly hot  finish. There's a touch of minerality here as well which contributes to the slightly spicy nature of this wine. Well balanced elegant and refined this is essential indistinguishable from wines half the price. 86pts

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Mentioned in this article


  • When you wrote in your preview about the state of Borsao, I fully expected the bottle to be the Tres Picos. While it doesn't list in the under $15 range, it can be found for that on sale. My experience with Tres Picos is very good, and I was wondering if you have had any tasting of it. It wasn't included in yesterday's column regarding some higher priced Garnachas.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

  • Snooth User: Mroe
    1481721 24

    I am I subscribing because of "pencil eraser" and "road tar."You have got to be kidding me! Who are you trying to impress?

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:58 PM

  • Snooth User: Mroe
    1481721 24

    I meant unsubscribing.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:59 PM

  • Absolutely valid aroma descriptors, Mroe...never smelled your pencil eraser in class or experienced road resurfacing during the summer? There are many compounds in foods that are shared, thus creating associative terms which link our palates. Attempting to relay flavors and smells via writing is not verbage, or ego impression, it's just logical. Get a grip.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:57 PM

  • Snooth User: dbiester
    510991 30

    Still a big fan of de fuego, also like the Mas Donis very much, to me it drinks like a youngish but hot Bordeaux and is just ridiculous for the price.

    Mar 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

  • Personally enjoy El Jamon Granacha, an exclusive @ Belmont Beverages in Northern Indiana ... At $7.00/bottle it delivers a wonderful representation of this great varietal

    Mar 29, 2014 at 11:41 AM

  • Snooth User: goyo626
    580595 12

    You wrote "...Wine that would appeal to wine geeks and novice alike..." Can you say more about these two characterizations? Im loving Grenache from Spain and California too. Thanks for these recommendations.

    Mar 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

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