- 2018 Las Margas Garnacha, Cariñena, Spain ($12.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
Garnacha is the Spanish (and therefore original) name for the grape known in France and elsewhere (like California) as Grenache.
There was a time when it was the dominant grape in Spain. Now, despite ripping up almost half of its Garnacha vineyards, Spain is still producing amazing wines with this grape. The wines range from affordable everyday wines to lavishly expensive world-class affairs.
These garnet-colored bottlings are “fruit-forward” wines. What a friend used to refer to as “juicy, fruity.” The fruit tends to ripen late and with high sugars, so it often produces wines that are high in alcohol. (This one clocks in at 14.5%.) The more affordable versions are typically lighter and easy-drinking, while expensive Priorats are rich and opulent and meant for long aging.
The wine we are featuring here is meant for enjoying soon (carpe diem!) with friends. It’s an impressive package, featuring a pretty label and massive glass with a deep punt (that indentation in the bottom of the bottle) that signals: this is a serious wine. But more importantly than the packaging, this wine passed our all-important taste test.
Pours a bright, light ruby in the glass. Looks like a Pinot Noir – or a Grenache! Vibrant ripe red fruit aromas – strawberry, blackberry and raspberry even some citrus – mingle with violet and dusty, earthy notes. The mouth feel is bold – medium-light body, high acidity throughout, and fine tannins. Layers of strawberry and raspberry notes are joined by jammy black cherry and mineral notes, which linger through the mid-palate and into the finish. Nice lingering dry finish that carries red fruit. A lot of wine for the money, and would pair really well with grilled lean meats, pasta with white sauces and hard cheeses.
Front label of Las Margas
2018 Garnacha from Trader Joe’s
It may be one of Spain’s lesser-known wine regions, but interest in Cariñena is on the rise. Local winemakers have recently captured the attention of international wine professionals and consumers alike, and increasing demand for their single-varietal and blended wines has prompted producers to focus on new bottlings. The majority of Cariñena’s wines are made from Garnacha grapes and the region offers a diverse array of styles—from steely, aromatic wines cultivated in high-altitude vineyards to ripe, robust expressions from the lower elevations.
If your local Trader Joe’s carries this bottling, give it a try and let us know what you think by dropping a note here in the comments section or on our Facebook or Instagram posts.
And if your weekend does find you shopping at your local TJ’s, also keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine. It’s a shopping list comprised of our most recent reviews.
Or if you’re headed to Costco, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list of Costco wine finds.