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La Maldita Garnacha 2014

Grenache from Rioja, Spain
    13.6% ABV
    • RP90
    • RP89
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    13.6% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Incredibly fresh and fruit-forward with notes of strawberries, tart cherries, spring flowers, and loamy soil undertones in a medium-bodied, pure format. Vibrant acidity and silky tannins make this an easy-drinking red.

    Enjoy with everyday favorites such as pizza, pasta, burgers, and grilled vegetables.

    Critical Acclaim

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    La Maldita

    La Maldita

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    La Maldita, Rioja, Spain
    In Rioja, the Garnacha grape variety is known to many local vine growers as "La Maldita," meaning "cursed." Low yields and a thin, sensitive skin make this varietal an extremely difficult grape to cultivate. As a result, Garnacha fell out of favor of many farmers, with the majority choosing to replace their plantings with less temperamental varieties. Once representing roughly half of the entire region under vine, today it accounts for less than 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja.

    Produced by one of the oldest winemaking families in Rioja. The entire process, from vineyard to bottle, is overseen by an expert winemaker with global acclaim for his handling of the Garnacha grapes. La Maldita hopes to inspire a resurgence of the Garnacha varietal in the Rioja region of showcasing that world-class Garnacha can still be produced there.

    The grapes are sourced primarily from estate-owned vineyards located largely in the sub-region of Rioja Baja. Soils consist of loose gravel and alluvial silts which help with drainage and contribute a hint of minerality to the wine. Vineyards are situated at elevations upwards of 700 meters with southwestern exposures. Use of the trellis training method encourages even ripening in this cooler microclimate. A low average planting density of just over 3,000 vines/ hectare allows the fruit maximum sun exposure and airflow to further encourage phenolic ripeness prior to harvest. All 80 hectares of vineyards from which this wine is produced are sustainably farmed.

    Manually harvested in late October, the grapes immediately undergo a cold soak in stainless steel tanks to capture the freshness of the fruit. Fermentation takes place in the same tanks. The bulk of the wine rests in stainless steel for a few months on the lees, while a small percentage ages in small French and American oak barrels for a hint of complexity

    Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.

    Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

    Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.

    White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.

    Grenache

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    Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. The grape typically produces full-bodied reds interestingly light in both color and tannins. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha) where it remains important, particularly in Priorat where winemakers enjoy great liberties in blending Grenache with other varieties. Today it might be most well associated with the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California, Washington and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.

    In the Glass

    In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or 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. Because of its friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.

    Sommelier Secret

    Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet.

    OPC75009_2014 Item# 145936