Welcome to Swill or Swell, a weekly series where I taste grocery store wines and let you know if they’re worth the buck or just meant for the drain!
CAVEAT! As you read this, please keep in mind that wine is subjective! This means that everyone enjoys different things and something I like might not be something you like and vice versa. I’ll be as objective as I can with facts about the wine’s quality, but in the end if your opinion differs from mine...that’s perfectly fine! Wine is only worth drinking if YOU like drinking it!
LET’S INTRODUCE THE WINE
Today I’ll be tasting the La Sonriente Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain. This is a new varietal here on Swill or Swell, which I’m excited about! I purchased it at Trader Joes for only $6.99, and I’ve seen this wine at the top of other Trader Joe’s wine lists as well. Let’s see if it lives up to its reputation!
SONRIENTE GARNACHA FUN FACTS
Let’s start by talking about the Garnacha varietal.
- This varitel is also known as Grenache
- It’s grown across the world, but its major producers are France, US, and Spain
- It’s deceptively light in color, but a typical higher alcohol level gives it more of a medium body
- This varietal is commonly known for fruity, strawberry flavor (almost like a strawberry flavored fruit roll-up!)
Now let’s talk a little about the Calatayud, Spain region.
- This region is the lesser known region northeast of Madrid.
- This region is know for its rocky soils plus abundant old vines, and is very dry
- Garnacha represents over 55% of total vineyards in its region, with many vines over 50 years of age
- Significant diurnal temperature variation promotes excellent flavor development in the grapes, while winds help to temper the summer heat
- This city is the only city which drinks more wine in the world than Buenos Aires is Paris
- A major factor which facilitated the development of the Argentinean winemaking industry was the arrival of the Transandine Railway in Mendoza in 1885. The railway allowed wines to be exported from Mendoza to the greater market of Buenos Aires.
WINE TASTING NOTES
Look: Medium purple
Smell: Plum, strawberry fruit roll-up, cocoa, leather, candied cherry
Taste: Lots of alcohol! Let this breathe for a bit after you open. Med+ acidity, med level tannins on the back of my top lip. It has a surprisingly lighter body (medium I’d say). Once the alcohol wears off...well balanced,
Food Pairing - Lots of fat to help with the alcohol. Pot roast, ham (Spain loves ham), Bolognese
Occasion - Family dinner, dinner party
Rating - Bats above its price point. Two thumbs up. Swell!
Want to learn more? Check out my Instagram every Thursday at 5PM PST for a new episode of Swill or Swell! Have a wine you’d like me to taste? Write your request in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!