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La Maldita Garnacha 2015

Grenache from Rioja, Spain
  • RP89
13.6% ABV
  • RP90
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3.8 5 Ratings
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3.8 5 Ratings
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

All Vintages
RP 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The young and fruit-driven 2015 La Maldita is a juicy Garnacha with balsamic aromas and notes of sweet herbs that I have not found in Garnacha in a while. The palate is velvety, with unnoticeable tannins, great freshness and high drinkability. This is a champion for early consumption, ready to be a success in the by-the-glass market. Superb value! 125,000 bottles produced.
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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 and also home to whites of equivalent quality but lesser renown. 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 high alcohol which mainly serve to add body to a blend. While fresh and fruity Riojas labeled “Joven” undergo minimal aging before release, a hallmark of more serious Rioja wines is the aroma and flavor of new oak—traditionally American, which imparts characteristics of dill, coconut, vanilla, and spice to the wine. Tighter-grained, subtler French oak, however, is becoming increasingly common. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged at least one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, 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, providing complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body and alcohol. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés. White wines are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura, which is usually blended with aromatic Malvasia and weighty Garnacha Blanca. White Rioja has traditionally been made in a nutty, oxidative style, though a bright, unoaked version is currently in vogue.

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.

HOR91458_2015 Item# 163648