While I’ve found a few California producers who create extremely refined Grenache, I’m not a huge fan of the Spanish or South American garnacha. There’s something about the focus on rusticity that usually turns me off — harsh without a purpose, it seems. And yet, when you’re in the mood for some spice in your life, there are a few varietals that immediately come to mind. For me, Garnacha is certainly one of them. So when I found this bottle at a local wine shop for under $20, I figured, why not try something different? So…here’s that story.

About the Wine: I don’t know much about this winery, and research has come up short. (If anyone knows anything or has contacts there, please do let me know.) The Spanish Table, which sells this wine for $18, does have a bit of info that I’ll reiterate here.

Camino de Navaherreros comes from the outskirts of Madrid in a village called Pelayos de la Presa. According to the website, the winery is so small and the wines in such demand, that very little makes it here to the States. (Although I did find it at my local shop so…)

The vines of Navaherreros are said to be over 80 years old.

According to KL Wine Merchants, who sell this wine for $16, winemaker Marc Isart Pinos ferments the old vine garnacha in foudre with partial whole-clusters inclusion, as well as long maceration on the skins, and bottles with minimum sulphur.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Camino de Navaherreros 2016 Garnacha and breathe in immediate aromas of boysenberry jam, red pepper spice, and a hint of dried fruit (perhaps prune). The Garnacha pours a unique color: if purple could be rouge. In the glass, the wine presents a light garnet center, fading out to a rouge-orange hue around the outermost perimeter.

Initial aromas are of fresh cut wood, strong acidity, a balsamic-like umami, with present, but indecipherable fruits. Swirl and find black cherry with chili, a hint of chocolate and a bit of raspberry and cranberry as well.

The palate of the Camino de Navaherreros 2016 Garnacha is lush, plush, with lightly textural tannins that dry out the palate almost completely by the end, yet remain light and cottony. The acid is not as strong as you may have expected based on the nose, but provides a nice heat component that increases and then envelopes the entirety of the palate at the very end with the finish that leaves a lingering even on the lips.

Dominant flavors are of raspberry, cranberry, cili, dried cardamom, dried flowers, and dried, chipping tree bark.

Food Pairing: I paired the Camino de Navaherreros 2016 Garnacha with char-grilled jumbo prawns, roasted corn puree, topped with a roasted red pepper sauce and garnished with micro greens.

Loved loved loved this pairing. The heat in the red pepper sauce somehow negated the heat in the wine, calming the tannins, and bringing forward some of those fruit components. Meanwhile, the sweetness and butteriness of the corn puree, contrasted the dry heat sensation, provided a smoother, rounder, and more voluptuous mouthfeel to the wine. And the char-grill on the prawns perfectly complemented the umami-factors of the wine.

More Info: I purchased the Camino de Navaherreros 2016 Garnacha at Vintage Wine Merchant in San Jose, California ($15).


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