WINE REVIEW: Two Impressive Wines from Spain's Cariñena DP Region ($13)
by Andrew Chalk
Celebrities is 100% old vines garnacha (grenache in French). Perfumy ripe strawberry fruit aromas roll out of the glass. The mouthfeel is grippy reflecting the combination of wood and grape tannins that have sustained the structure in this wine. There is no evidence of the low-acid syndrome that often bedevils the otherwise wonderful garnacha grape. As a final gesture, the finish is a harmonious blend of wood and fruit.
While the Celebrities leave one with an impression of an approachable value wine the Monasterio comports itself as a much more serious creation. It is a blend of 30% tempranillo, 20% cariñena carignon in French), as well as 50% garnache (oddly the front label also lists cabernet sauvignon as part of the blend but the proportions listed above, taken from the back label, d not allow for anther grape). Not to worry. The nose exhibits considerable complexity with
savory tempranillo, juicy garnacha and a healthy mustiness from 24 months of wood ageing. Seven years ageing see a wine that is still firmly structured, displaying slightly juicier tannins than the Celebrities, and a finish delivering encore after encore of resolved fruit flavors. Clearly this represents Cariñena winemaking at its best as it will likely keep faithfully for another five years.
Both of these wines scream that quality wine is being made in Cariñena but also reveal that it is is undiscovered. The prices are outrageously good value. I strongly recommend you hunt for these and add the region on to your regular tasting regimen.