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Alto Moncayo Moncayo 2009

Grenache from Spain
  • RP100
  • WS93
  • WE91
16% ABV
  • JS91
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • RP94
  • WS91
  • RP94
  • WS92
  • RP95
  • RP94
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16% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine is spectacular, and represents the perfect foil for grilled steak. Rich, full bodied and muscular, Alto Moncayo has riveting intensity and palate staining extract; this Spanish red is inky/purple, full-bodied, and rich. This pedal-to-the-metal offering should age handsomely for a decade.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 100
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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. I gave perfect scores to the prodigious 2007 and 2009, two of the greatest expressions of old vine Grenache from the province of Aragon that anyone could have desire. The both possess plenty of black raspberry, blackberry, kirsch and licorice characteristics as well as an undeniable minerality and precision that are remarkable given their full-bodied, massive concentration and intensity.

I gave perfect scores to the prodigious 2007 and 2009, two of the greatest expressions of old vine Grenache from the province of Aragon that anyone could have desire. The both possess plenty of black raspberry, blackberry, kirsch and licorice characteristics as well as an undeniable minerality and precision that are remarkable given their full-bodied, massive concentration and intensity. 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.

WS 93
Wine Spectator
The espresso, toasty vanilla and licorice flavors are dark and sweet in this rich red, which features linzer torte, fig pudding and dried cherry flavors, with a plush, generous texture and soft, thick tannins. An extreme style, but sensuous and appealing.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
Smoky, charred and minerally on the nose, this has a balsamic berry aroma and lots of dark spice. It feels deep, pure and layered, with flavors of wild berry, toast, baked plum and dark spice. It finishes big, with hints of rubber, blackberry and lasting spice.
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Alto Moncayo

Alto Moncayo

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Alto Moncayo, Spain
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Bodegas Alto Moncayo is a joint venture of Jorge Ordonez, Bodegas Borsao and others, in conjunction with Chris Ringland. It is located in the town of Bulbuente (Zaragoza) Spain and the Denominacion Campo de Borja. 62 hectares (153.2 acres) of old clone Garnacha vines are planted ont he hillside vineyards oriented to the southwest. With vineyards located in three villages, a few of the vineyards are terraced. The winery possesses very unique soils of red clay (indicative of being rich in iron) mixed with red slate. Because of its hillside location the soils are very poor in organic matter and shallow. A few sites have calcareous soil. Nighttime during the summer brings cool temperatures to moderate the growing season and there is scant rainfall. The youngest vines of Alto Moncayo are 35 years old and the oldest vineyards are over 90 years old. Their focus is exlusively on Garnacha.

Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.

In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.

Grenache

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Full-bodied but light in both color and tannin, Grenache loves the sun. It thrives in hot climates where it can easily achieve full ripeness. Grenache is best known in the Southern Rhône, where its plush texture and ample alcohol are tamed by savory Syrah and structured Mourvèdre, most notably in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache originates in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha and is important throughout the country, particularly in Rioja, where it is blended with the more austere Tempranillo, and in Priorat in tandem with savory Cariñena (Carignan). It is also responsible for dry, fruity rosés in Navarra. In Sardinia, the variety is known as Cannonau and produces bold, rustic reds. In California, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and playing a supporting role in Rhône-style blends.

In the Glass

In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with red fruit flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to dark berry. Richer examples can also show plum, chocolate, and licorice.

Perfect Pairings

Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. With its uncomplicated, friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb loin chops or spicy Italian sausages. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not be fazed by a good chili kick.

Sommelier Secret

Sardinia’s Cannonau is often revered for its association with a long, healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, and they credit this antioxidant-rich wine—along with their healthy Mediterranean diet—for their impressive longevity.

LOA113502_2009 Item# 113502