Las Rocas Garnacha 2018
The vibrant red color of this Garnacha hints at its rich dark cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors. This well-structured wine integrates nuances of oak with round tannins to deliver a rich palate of decadent fruit flavors.
Although the D.O. is quite young, vines have been grown in the zone for some time. About one eighth of the vineyard land’s production has been bottled at one of Spain’s best and most progressive cooperatives, San Alejandro. With an abundance of amazing raw material, Eric Solomon was able to commission several bottlings of very old vine fruit into what has become one of the most sought-after estates in the portfolio. Calatayud benefits from a continental climate with vast temperature differences between night and day. Harvests are much later than in other parts of Aragon, and the acidity/maturity/alcohol ratios tend to be more balanced.
As most of the vineyards lie on what was (thousands of years ago) an old river basin, the soil is comprised of brown limestone and loam over slate and gypsum. This particular soil is also ideal for production of olives, cherries, and other fruits. Jean-Marc Lafage (of Domaine Lafage in France’s Roussillon) is responsible for the Las Rocas cuvees.
Calatayud DO is a wine region tucked into northern Spain’s regions just south of Rioja, about 55 miles (90km) from the provincial capital, Zaragoza. When Calatayud attained DO status in the 90s, it rapidly became Aragon’s second largest quality wine-producing region after its neighbor, Cariñena. Since then, it has focused on upgrading and perfecting its wines with progressive improvements in both cooperatives and private bodegas. Similarly, there has been substantial investment in new technology, winemaking system, and vineyard research. Thanks to this, Calatayud wines are now beginning to show their true potential.
The principle red grape varieties grown are Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Syrah, Bobal, Monastrell.
Many of the new wineries are exploring the potential of the Garnacha grape. A new category of red wines called Calatayud Superior is made from red Garnacha from low yield vines that are at least 50 years old.
The principal white grape varieties in Calatayud are Macabeo, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasía and Chardonnay.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.