A fresh take on Garnacha (aka Grenache) from an up-and-coming region that toes the line between elegance and rusticity.
Region: Madrid, Spain
Grapes: 100% Grenache
Body: Medium Body
Flavors: Stewed Fruits, Herbs, Minerality
Pairings: Versatile, Grilled Dishes
“This is a staple at Toro,” Battles said.
A brilliant fuschia color, the wine’s crystalline clarity belies the surprising freshness in this expression of Garnacha, a grape more often known for deep, sticky fruit and rich texture. Instead, we get aromatic notes of stewed currants and ripe strawberries on the nose. On the palate, wild herbs and dried flowers, with a “grippy minerality,” according to Battles. Tannins are tart and well-integrated, and the acidity is well-balanced and easygoing. This approachable red is an excellent companion to everything from grilled steaks to roast chicken, but it’s lovely on its own with just a snack and a movie.
Most people think Rioja when they think Spain, but the Iberian darling’s varied terroir means there’s vinous treasure to be found around nearly every corner. The Bernabeleva estate exemplifies that “diamond in the rough” mystique, making its home in the unlikeliest of subzones: Viños de Madrid, a small, overlooked region just 75 minutes outside one of Spain’s largest cities. Founded in the early 20th century by Vincent Alvarez-Villamil, Bernabeleva’s location is steeped in Celtic history, and the surrounding land is dotted with bear-shaped boulder carvings, thousand-year-old tributes to the goddess of the hunt. Today, Bernabeleva (which translates to “bear forest”) is stewarded by Alvarez-Villamil’s grandchildren, who revived the estate in an effort to honor their family’s heritage. They work primarily with old vines of Garnacha (aka Grenache), a hardy red variety that thrives in the dry heat of the surrounding landscape.