The Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is sourced from vineyards in the Cariñena region of the Aragon DO in Northeast Spain. Cariñena is an old wine producing region, it was founded by the Romans. Its funny that virtually every wine producing area in Europe has a heritage that is connected to Rome and some along the Mediterranean reach back to ancient Greece. The name Sierra de Viento translated roughly to mountain wind. It refers to the winds that sweep across the plains a get trapped by the mountains. Most the the vineyards around here are planted in the foothills or along river valleys.
Sierra de Viento Garnacha 2016 is produced by Bodegas San Valero which is a coop or commune of 700 small farmers/vineyard owners. Each farmer is too small to produce wine on their own and the cost of equipment is prohibitive. But, banded together they can build a state of the art winery and produce enough grapes to have a world wide distribution. Aragon DO and Cariñena are prime Garnacha growing regions, it is common to find sub-$15 Garnacha receiving 90+ points on the shelves of your local wine shop. Good Garnacha does not have to be expensive, it doesn’t need oak and it doesn’t need long-term aging to shine. Young, fresh, and fruit-forward usually does the trick. Just to the north in the Rhone Valley of France, Grenache (the French spelling of Garnacha) is blended with Syrah, and they make terrific value priced Red blends.
If you want to learn about value-priced (cheap) Red wines, you need to explore Garnacha/Grenache. For some reason, Grenache from California tends to be small production, boutique wines and it is rare to see a value-priced Grenache (I can’t think of one). But Northeast Spain and Southeast France produce many fine examples. I found this wine at a local big box wine shop selling for $5.99, the same price as those private label wines you find at Costco, Trader Joe’s, ALDI, etc… .The private label wines have price advantages that retail store wines don’t have, so I was curious how the Sierra se Viento could compete. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is raspberry red with inky black highlights. The nose is dark, almost smokey, ripe blackberry, a touch of herbs, black pepper, and spice. This is a tight, focused Garnacha, lean, but with ripe fruit. It starts with extracted blackberry and licorice, soft pepper, and spice. The mid-palate shows cherry with a touch of cream and citrus zest. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity is well-balanced. As a side note, lately value priced wine, as a whole, has shown very solid acidity, very inexpensive wine have shown enough acidity to be good food wines and pleasurable sippers. The finish is subtle and mirrors the body of the wine.
- The Sierra de Viento is probably a better food wine than a back porch sipper. It drinks fine, but would shine with small plate Tapas
- The dark flavors and the lip-smacking acidity are seductive, just bring some Asiago cheese