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2010 Alto Moncayo Garnacha 750ml

2010 Alto Moncayo Garnacha

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I tend to drink Alto Moncayo during its first 5-6 years of life. Although I was sure they had aging potential, I did not realize just how much longevity these wines possess. They are generally full-bodied, powerful (with at least 15.5% natural alcohol), concentrated, rich wines made from very old vines and tiny yields. If you are not into flavor concentration or care about artisanal wines from great terroirs that have been ignored for centuries, this may not be the wine for you. Not one of these ten vintages was close to full maturity. The two most recent vintages, 2010 and 2011, were both late, cooler years and both have turned out to be sexy wines. I suspect that in many ways, 2011 will behave like 2006, being precocious and delicious, but not as long-lived as some of its siblings. These wines appear to have 20-30 years of aging potential, although the sweet spot for drinking them appears to be between age 8 and 15.
This was a great opportunity to look at one of the flagship wines of importer Jorge Ordonez's portfolio. Alto Moncayo is a 100% old vine Grenache cuvee (900-1,000 cases produced depending on the vintage) that is a joint project between Jorge Ordonez and Barossa winemaker, Chris Ringland. Five generations of vignerons have farmed over 210 acres of primarily old vine Grenache at Alto Moncayo, a wine that is produced from incredibly low yields of 500 grams of grape bunches per vine. There are never more than six to eight bunches on these ancient head-pruned Grenache vines. The wine is fermented in open-top wood fermenters, and spends 19 months in 100% new oak prior to being bottled unfiltered. The fruit is all destemmed. I tasted these ten vintages of Alto Moncayo in September, and I was blown away by how well they were showing.
Importer: Jorge Ordonez Selections,Dedham, MA; tel. (781) 461-5767: email:corporate@jorgeordonez.com

92 Points - Robert Parker

Producer: Alto Moncayo
Website:

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Price: $45.99
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Varietal: Grenache
Grenache has claims to have originated in Spain and Sardinia where it is known as Garnacha and Cannonau respectively. No matter where it originated this sun-loving grape has spread with great popularity across the world. The grape’s compatibility with regions that offer long sunny summers ensures a high build up of sugars and conversely low acidity. This and its soft tannin make it a great blending grape with firmer, more structured varieties such as Syrah and Mourvedre to form the trio blend often called GSM. Grenache is frequently grown alongside its blending partners in the esteemed regions of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone valley and accross South Australia. Unlike a lot of other varieties Grenache needs relatively little attention and is quite happy to be left on poor, unirrigated soils. Because of this hearty nature, pockets of old, neglected, but still productive vines have been found around the world. With enough pruning, these old vines yield small amounts of intense fruit with spectacular results in varietal wines. Depending on where it is grown and how it is handled Grenache can vary from earthy and peppery to jammy red and black fruit with sweet spice qualities. It is also the key constituent (at least 50%) in the wines of Banyuls, one of France’s finest Vins Doux Naturels appellations.

Country: Spain
With more area under vines than any other country, it ranks third in terms of quantity of wine produced. The range of its wines is a reflection of the country's regional climatic diversity ranging from the rich and sumptuous reds of the hot and arid Ribera del Duero to the light, crisp whites of the cool Atlantic region of Galicia and Basque Country. For some of the country's best reds, try the regions of Rioja, Navarra, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, and Murcia. Spain is also responsible for some of the world's finest fortified and dessert wines, the finest of which come from the town Jerez (Sherry), in Andalucía.

Region: Campo de Borja
Garnacha is the most well known grape in this region. Vines here have an average age of 30 to 50 years produce some of the best examples of Garnacha wines: concentrated, powerful and very aromatic. Apart from Garnacha, other grape varieties include Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mazuelo (Cariñena) and Syrah. Given the difficult conditions, yields are low, hence the concentrated wines. Some lighter-style wines with obvious fruit are also proving popular, as are rosados (rosés). White wines made from Macabeo (Viura), Chardonnay and Moscatel are permitted. Moscatel is most commonly used to create mistelas, made from partially fermented grapes and then fortified with alcohol.

Sub-Region:

Type: Red
Red wine is wine made from dark-coloured grape varieties. The color of red differs based on the grapes variety or varieties used. Interestingly, black grapes yield a juice that is greenish-white. The actual red color comes from anthocyan pigments (also called anthocyanins) from the skin of the grape (exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which produce a red colored juice). Most of the production centers around the extraction of color and flavor from the grape skin.