Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sergeant Pepper

Hey guys, sorry it's been a while since my last post. It's been a hectic couple of weeks, and sadly I haven't been tasting a whole lot. What I DID do, though, was clean the house, and lo and behold: I found some tasting notes I'd done during the months leading up to my actually starting this blog. Joy!

Today I'd like to discuss one of my favorite wines of 2010.  It takes one by surprise. Mainly because of the trendy label. I admit, I'm one of those snobs that thinks twice about a wine with a pretty dancing lady on the label and (I kid you not) polka dot foil. I'm going to repeat that in case you missed it: there are POLKA DOTS on the foil.

But I'm begging you to look past that, like I did, because the Penelope Sanchez Garnacha is a treat for lovers of big red wines.

This little beauty has 15% Syrah punching up the fruit factor - and thank God it's there, because the Garnacha is a BEAST. Called Garnacha in Spain, Grenache in France, Cannonau in Italy, Alicante by some people (including Francis Ford Coppola) and about a million other names across the world, is a diva of a grape. Ripening late and therefore reaching stratospheric sugar (and alcohol) levels, it's most often used as a blending grape, lightening up the party with its sweet flavors of strawberry and raspberry jam. But in the right hands, low-yield varietal Grenache can be a powerhouse of black pepper, tar, acidic olives, coffee, and other such flavors that us dirt-drinking lovers of earthy reds so enjoy. The Penelope Sanchez is one such example. In this bottle, Grenache is no chorus-girl ... it's the star of the show, and rightly so.

The complex nose of intense spiced plum is promising. Further aromas of cassis and rose invite; the pepper excites. Now, Grenache isn't customarily a grape known for its tannins, but in this wine they're certainly present. Tight and focused, they spiral down the palate with more of what was detected on the nose - those brandy-soaked plum flavors and an explosive black pepper finish. The acid is bright, lifting the flavors on the palate, but the wine remains silky smooth on the palate. This is a big wine, an intense wine, and not for the faint of heart. Those of you who are accustomed to "smooth, easy drinking wines" ... I love you, but look elsewhere. Score a bottle of that 14 Hands Hot To Trot Red I mentioned earlier in the blog, you'll love it. But those of you who, like me, demand a bit of character from your red wine, a bit of effort; or simply just need something to accompany your Granddad's Signature Seasoned Steaks(tm) - pick up a bottle of Penelope Sanchez Garnacha and put it in your face!

Date: 6/8/2010
Wine: Penelope Sanchez Garnacha
Grapes: 85% Garnacha, 15% Syrah
Vintage: 2009
ABV: 13.5% 
Origin: Campo de Borja, Spain
Color: violet-tinged ruby
Nose: plum and spice, cassis, rose, pepper
Palate: great garnacha! tight tannins, bright acid, clean finish. silky smooth with plum, pepper finish.
Price: $11

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