Wine Lovers Buzz About #GarnachaDay


It has become clear that wine drinkers are demanding varietal wines beyond the strongholds we've seen on shelves and menus for decades. Let's face it; there was a palate gap in the United States' most commonly consumed varietals. That gap has been bridged by Garnacha. Not a single other commonly consumed grape brings the same level of crowd-pleasing versatility and broad array of fresh and accessible flavors. It's the quintessential red wine for white wine drinkers. Garnacha's resurgence as a varietal wine is attributable to a group of hardworking, innovative growers and winemakers in Eastern Spain (in the DOs of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano and Terra Alta)  -- the grape's ancestral home. They are dedicated to preserving old vines, keeping yields low, and experimenting with the latest winemaking trends. Last month, in celebration of #GarnachaDay 2016, Master Sommelier Laura Maniec sat down with Master of Wine Christy Canterbury live on Snooth to taste through a selection of Spanish Garnacha from the four key DOs. Members of the wine writing community tuned in live to taste the wines along with them, and their reactions were strong. If you missed the virtual tasting, click here to view it now.

Read on to learn more about the wine writing community's thoughts about #GarnachaDay, and why this grape is filling glass after glass around the world.
The four wines tasted during Snooth's #GarnachaDay virtual tasting are listed below, along with commentary from some of the attending wine writers.

In the words of Michelle Williams (Rockin' Red Blog), "Garnacha is a like your favorite Labrador, it is friendly, easy to get along with and pleases everyone." So when you are shopping for a diverse crowd, try one of these wines. They're all available in local retail stores at incredible values. And as The Wine Hub's Philip Kampe points out: "Why not take your five wine Spanish Garnacha journey? The total cost for five bottles was $54."

Clos Dalian Garnatxa Blanca 2015

Indeed, White Garnacha does exist. It may also be referred to as Garnacha Blanca or Garnatxa Blanca. Varietal White Garnacha isn’t terribly common, but it’s something in which DO Terra Alta specializes and excels. The Nittany Epicurean describes a "bouquet of apple and lemon" on the nose of this wine, while SAHMmelier speaks of the wine's little sparkle of lemon and sunshine with a touch of salinity. Talk-A-Vino reminds us that the majority of virtual tasting attendees concur: this is the ideal oyster wine. October ends in an 'R', so now is the time to shuck your friends with this fantastic pairing!

La Miranda de Secastilla Blanca 2014

Our second example of Garnacha Blanca hails from DO Somontano. The grapes in DO Somontano grow among the snow-capped Pyrenees, more than seven hundred meters above sea level. Snooth's own Gabe Sasso  found petrol, toasted hazelnut and linseed oil aromas lighting up the nose. This wine has four months in French oak under its belt, and complex aromas are present. Isaac James Baker gave the wine 90 points,  relating aromatics of apricots, pears, glazed apple, honeyed tea, white flowers, almond and sea salt. If you are into creamier white wines, this one is for you. Do you have an aversion to any mention of oak? Don't worry, there's no need to steer clear. VT Wine Media's Todd Trzaskos notes the  "...use of oak shows only as a gauze in the air that rises from the glass."

Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena 2014

This wine, intended for young drinking, comes to us from Cariñena. Cliff Brown speaks of its "hypnotic nose...blackberries, crushed stones, white pepper, cherries, dry underbrush, violets and warm baking spices." Wannabe Wino deems this a "dark wine" with notes of "blueberry, pie, leather, and cranberry" on the nose and "blueberry, tea, dark strawberry and blackberry" in the mouth. Cheap Wine Ratings says, "If you like lively, fruity, spicy Garnacha there’s a good chance you’ll dig this one." What's not to dig about any wine from Cariñena? The region has a rich and storied history of winemaking dating back to the Roman era. Suffice it to say, the region knows what it's doing. Try pairing this with an array of dark chocolate. Cacao percentages should vary. Observe how the rising and falling bitterness levels effect this wine's fruit flavors.

Evodia Garnacha 2015

Somm in the City finds that this Calatayud Garnacha takes well to its slate soils. She calls the wine "inky purple...boasting purple flowers, plum, and currants with mineral laced notes." Remember, in Calatayud your Garnacha is grown among plantations of almond, cherry, olive, apple, pear and peach trees. The spirit of nearby crops is alive in this Garnacha. It's also a pretty pairing wine. The AdviceSisters' John Dunham suggests that it will "work with stronger foods, like steak, or pork shoulder".

Garnacha Centenaria 2014

JvB UnCorked likens this Campo de Borja gem to a concerto, with "gentle and delightful red cherries" at the start, "...slowly... joined by allspice, black pepper, stone and clay..." and "...a triumphant swirl into the apex of the movement...notes of rose bush, red pepper, leather, and spice box." Enofylz also champions this selection, bringing the wine's "red currant, mulberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors" to the fore. Vino Travels claimed this as her top wine for two consecutive vintages (2013 and 2014), pointing to its complexity and long orange notes. Campo de Borja is a haven of old vines; the oldest ones date back to 1145, The wisdom of the ages is evident in your glass. Check out Tasting Pour's perfect pairing (plus recipe): Collard, Shrimp, and Chicken Thigh Spanish/Southern Fusion.

The most common finding among #GarnachaDay's virtual tasters? It's delicious value with a capital V. When you choose a bottle of Garnacha or Garnacha Blanca from one of the five key PDOs, you know you're getting an expertly crafted bottle from the grapes’ native land. The wines are made by people who take care to ensure that the grapes reach their full potential in the comfort of their own home. What's more, these wines don’t break the bank. Pick up one of some of them, and watch the virtual tasting video to learn even more.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Jade Helm
    2107921 6

    Lovely round up that gives the reader just a little whiff and taste. Thanks for including the link to our Spanish/Southern Fusion "thrown together" dish.

    Oct 03, 2016 at 11:38 AM

  • Great wrap up! Thank you.

    Oct 03, 2016 at 12:18 PM

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