Region: Campo de Borja, D.O., Spain
Tasted: July 27, 2012
Twinings of London has a flavored black tea called “Four Red Fruits” in which there is a combination of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and redcurrant flavoring, as well as an image on the packaging that does a very nice job depicting this confluence of sweet-red-berry-ness. The 2010 Garnacha from Bodegas Borsao might as well have the exact same image on the label, because that is what will pop into people’s heads as soon as they lay nose to this wine. (And no, the taster did not have any such tea on the day of the tasting.)
The garnacha’s rich, sweet aroma is predominated by redcurrant, as well as plum and cherry, but there are also plenty more facets of reds and berries and red berries to go around: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, crème-de-cassis, even some prune. When the wine is sipped, the fruitiness continues on in full force, this time with the prunes in the forefront but still with all of those other flavors making their due cameos and then some. Redcurrant returns as the main note in the finish, along with crème-de-cassis.
After breathing for about twenty minutes, the wine still has massive notes of the red, but with different fruits strutting their stuff. Boysenberry jam joins both redcurrants front-and-center in the nose and prunes front-and-center on the tongue. The finish becomes oddly subdued, but in a nice way, with the full mélange of reds evenly spread to leave the taster with a pleasant closing ensemble reminiscent of every facet of his experience with the wine, not to mention a palate ready for more.
As even my less astute readers must surely have guessed by now, the watchword with this garnacha is SWEETNESS. Interestingly, though, this smooth, mellifluous sweetness is balanced by a slight but very real sharpness where the alcohol hits the tongue and palate, a feature of the wine that actually picks up after aeration. A glance at the ABV of 14% and this starts to make sense, but it still comes rather unexpectedly after the deeply sweet, almost sugary nose, and is a pleasant balance. Because of that, in fact, this wine would stand up just fine with a meal that includes spice and/or herbs. Still, it would be most in its element paired with a simple roasted meat. Lamb shank comes to mind, maybe with a spot of mint jelly or else a port demi-glaze, and a side salad to assuage the guilt of a further side of mashed potatoes.
But perhaps that is merely the reviewer’s stomach talking. The truth is, with almost any meal, or even just to sit around and sip something yummy, one cannot go wrong with this delicious, surprising, playful, and, most of all, rewarding specimen of Spanish viniculture.