Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cellars Unio Clos Dalian 2012 Garnacha Crianza, Terra Alta

Garnacha is one of the most widely distributed wines in the world. Wait. What? Yes, that’s right. Perhaps you are more familiar with its French name of Grenache. In the Rhone region of France it is mixed into heavenly blends, usually with Syrah. Garnacha is the Spanish name for the grape and, in my opinion, in Spain the wine takes on a more expressive, bolder form.

The Clos Dalian Garnacha Crianza is from the Terra Alta wine region of Catalonia. This was the region in which a young Pablo Picasso lived and developed his cubist style. To add to the mystique, Knights Templar planted vines and made wine there. Wine production here dates to Roman times.

Terra Alta means “high land” and from this vantage point it overlooks the River Elbe and the Tarragona below. The land features limestone mountain ranges, holm oak and white pine trees. The soil has been farmed for centuries with almond and olive groves, along with vineyards.

Crianza by Spanish wine law must be aged for two years and aged in barrels for at least six months. While this wine is light to medium in body, there is a nip of spice that creates interest. The wine is juicy and fresh with bright flavors of red berries and jam.

Spanish Garnacha is an outstanding value. This bottle is in the $10 range, but scores high in value and uniqueness. Who wants a tired, generic Merlot when you can have an adventurous Garnacha from the land of Picasso?

Full disclosure: The wine was received as a marketing sample.

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