Friday, February 26, 2010

Old Vines = Good Vines

Wine: Atteca Old Vines 2007, Calatayud, Spain

Paired with: a little of this & a little of that (leftover night!)

Comments: I feel like we don't see a huge selection of Spanish wines in our travels through the LWS circuit. I'm sure they're around, but somehow, they don't have a huge presence (I suspect the Spanish are keeping the best for themselves). Anyway, I'm very glad that this particular Spanish wine caught our attention. The phrase "old vines" will do that every time.

So, how old are "old vines?" Well, there's no legal definition of the term, so some newer producers use it on vines that are 20 years old; other growers wait until the vines are in the 40+ range. Some of it depends on the type of grape, some of it depends on the region. (You'll see it a lot on California Zinfandels, especially.) In this case, these Spanish garnacha (grenache) vines are supposedly 120 years old, so I'm perfectly OK with that designation.

So, why get excited about old vines? Grapevines, as they age, produce less and less fruit. And what they do produce develops extremely concentrated flavors. If there's a varietal you like, and old vines version of the wine should be all the things you like about the wine, squared.

Tasting Notes: Lots of plum/prune/raisiny flavors. Good balance between tannin and flavor. Initial nose had lots of leather & spice. Wine definitely benefits from being opened prior to drinking; give it at least 20 minutes for the wine to open up. Initial pruney/raisiny flavors mellowed into more berry-like notes.

Color: movie-prop-blood red

Price: around $15

Verdict: Friday, with the right food. We didn't do the wine justice with random leftovers, but I think roast meats would match very nicely with the big flavors here.