The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 90 of 148

90 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 { spain } To discover these wines, the Cariñena region and The Somm Journal teamed up to explore the emerging wines with retailers, importers and export managers in both Chicago and San Francisco. A seated tast - ing of six wines preceded a four course meal at Salero and Jardinière respectively. Serving temperature ended up being our first lesson: Upon arrival, Nieves Beamonte, Export Manager for Grandes Vinos y Viñedos, requested the wines to be chilled a few degrees. Traditionally, that's the way red wines are served in Cariñena. As we tasted the first wine, Bodegas San Valero 2012 Par ticular Garnacha Joven, the conversation immediately embraced the focused acidity. "The wine has fresh - ness on the finish to keep the rich fruit in balance," remarks Tom Benezra, Wine Director at Sal's Beverage World, Chicago. Located in the Ebro Valley in Aragon, the area benefits from large diurnal shifts, allowing Garnacha to ripen without losing the acidity needed to balance the ripe fruit. The stony soils and higher elevation aid in the retention of its bracing acidity as well. A great introduction to the style of Garnacha produced in Cariñena, "this is the kind of wine we're used to drinking," shares Javier Sierra, Commercial Manager for Bodegas San Valero. Moving on to the Grandes Vinos y Viñedos 2014 Beso de Vino Old Vine Garnacha, Beamonte declares that although she refers to the bottle as entry-level wine, "that doesn't mean it's entry-level quality. We try to make an approachable style with a lot of fruit. If you don't have old vines, it's unbalanced." With that, the conversation shifts to old vines. No official age distinc - tions are required to call something "old vine," but a general consensus determines the term to mean no younger than about 40 years. Because many of the vines are old, most wineries harvest much lower yields than the DO demands. While the old vines produce less, the fruit exhibits concentra - tion, structure and freshness. As Pinedo introduces Bodegas Paniza 2009 Artigazo, the discussion changes to ageability—a constant topic in wine these days. The reality is that most wine is con - sumed within hours of purchase, so while the acidity in these wines allows them to age, the style of Cariñena Garnacha show - cases bright fruit to be enjoyed while young. This blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha, though, shows us that, if we do wish to age the wine, it develops well, with a smoky, spicy character. Next, we taste Grandes Vinos y Viñedos 2013 Corona de Aragón Special Selection, a blend of Garnacha and Cariñena. "Why did I pick this wine? Because this is a great example of what a traditional wine from Cariñena is like," Beamonte explained, high - lighting its sweetness and blackberry notes. Diego Pinedo, Export Manager for Bodegas Paniza, Paco Pulido, Export Manager for Bodegas San Valero and Nieves Beamonte, Export Manager for Grandes Vinos y Viñedos, welcome the San Francisco wine buyers. Alan Murray, MS, Wine Director at Jardinière, pours Bodegas San Valero 2013 Particular Garnacha Old Vine for Paco Pulido, Export Manager for Bodegas San Valero, Richard Hertzog, Sommelier/Bartender at Foreign Cinema, and Heather Witta, Wine Associate at California Wine Merchant. PHOTO: STEPHANIE SECREST PHOTO: STEPHANIE SECREST

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