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This Garnacha is a Spanish Bargain Wine

The Wine of the Week: Monjardin Garnacha

by Annette Tomei

2016 Castillo de Monjardin ‘La Cantera’ Garnacha, Navarra DO, SpainSpanish bargain wine from Castillo de Monjardin

Navarra is located in the north of Spain, separated from France by the Pyrenees Mountains. Winemaking in this region pre-dates Ancient Rome. Aside from its wines, the region is probably best known for the famous “running of the bulls” in Pamplona.

Garnacha makes up one-third of the grapes grown in Navarra DO. Traditionally, the Garnacha grapes were used in making rosado (rosé), for which Navarra was best known. Today, red wines made from Tempranillo are taking over.

Castillo de Monjardin is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, just across the border from France. The mountain air provides a cooler climate, best for even ripening. All of Castillo de Mojardin’s wines are produced from single vineyards. The La Cantera vineyard is known for its 70+ year old garnacha vines, from which this wine is made. The name, La Cantera, means “the quarry” – so named because of its rocky soil (great for wine grapes).

About this Wine

The grapes for this wine are hand-picked, fermented in stainless steel, then aged briefly in second-year oak barrels. This is a young wine with bright ruby red color, and luscious aromas of ripe red berries, juicy plums, and a hint of violet. Maybe because it’s that time of year, this wine had me thinking of Beaujolais Nouveau… only better! On the palate, juicy-fruity plums and raspberries with a fresh, clean finish. A hint of fruit tannins, tight on back of palate, made me think this wine may do well for a few years.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious Garnacha on its own. However, I’m looking forward to enjoying it again (and again) with some Spanish-inspired dishes – hearty lamb stew (Navarra is known for lamb dishes), paella, stuffed piquillo peppers. Also try with the local cheeses: Idiazábal and Roncal.

The Verdict

Find it, buy it, order it in restaurants… enjoy it on its own or with a delicious foods. With a retail price under $15 you can’t miss. Also, try their Chardonnay (I’ll probably write about it soon, as well – just to remind you!).

 

 

My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

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