I came into contact with Marty Johnson, winemaker and co-owner of Magdalena Vineyards, when doing research for an article about the lesser-known varieties growing in Washington’s wine regions. Marty hails from the Rattlesnake Hills AVA near Zillah, Washington. All his wines produced (a modest 200-plus annual case production) are made from grapes grown on his petite 1-acre vineyard that he manages with his wife and co-owner Ryan.
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.