New Customers Save $30 off $100+* with code SEPTNEW30
New Customers Save $30* with code SEPTNEW30
*New customers only. Order must be placed by 9/26/2017. The $30 discount is given for a single order with a minimum of $100 excluding shipping and tax. Items with pricing ending in .97 are excluded and will not count toward the minimum required. Discount does not apply to corporate orders, gift certificates, or StewardShip membership fees. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order.
Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2009
My favorite of this trio, and a big time sleeper, is the outstanding 2009 Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas, which comes from 60-100-year old vines planted at 2,500-3,500 feet elevations. Aged ten months in old French and American oak, it possesses 15.2% alcohol along with a deep ruby/purple color and copious notes of plums, raspberries, black cherries, lavender and licorice, a full-bodied texture, and impressive purity, depth and freshness.
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.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, Champagne is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to be labeled ‘Champagne’ within the EU and many New World countries, a wine must originate in this northeastern region of France and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide. Well-drained limestone chalk soil defines much of the region, lending a mineral component to the wines. The climate here is marginal—ample acidity is a requirement for sparkling wine, so overripe grapes are to be avoided. Weather differences from year to year create significant variation between vintages, and in order to maintain a consistent house style, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years.
With nearly negligible exceptions, three varieties are permitted for use in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These can be blended together or bottled varietally, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, delicacy, and elegance, as well as bright and lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit, and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body, and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while one comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’