What’s Spain’s wine formula? Old vines, low yields, rocky soils and super intense flavors. Here are some “wow” reds, from my recent blind test-tasting series, that won’t make a dent in your drinking budget.
Borsao Tres Picos, Campo de Borja, 2012
From Aragon in northern Spain, this silky, old-vine garnacha is produced in the shadows of Moncayo mountain. Its coffee-like aromas and soft, mellow texture are garnacha signatures. Delicate and round, with red cherry fruit and a peppery hint in the finish, this is a red you can serve slightly cooler to complement light spring dishes.
($18, Marty’s Fine Wines, Newton)
Tarima Hill “Old Vines” Monastrell, Alicante, 2011
Aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, this is a big-boy wine: full and rich on the palate, with intense smoky, roasted blackberry flavors, and a touch of licorice in the finish. The monastrell grape, known as mourvedre in France, features a savory edge that is a delicious counterpoint to barbecued meat.
($15, Wine & Cheese Cask, Somerville)
Bodegas Zerran, Montsant, 2011
This ripe, spicy melange of garnacha, mazuelo and syrah tastes ultra-juicy and balanced with vibrant acids and black raspberry fruit. Floral, slightly gamey and tobacco-like in scent, its ripe, plum flavor is offset by a touch of dark chocolate and subtle minerality. Try this with a succulent grilled tuna steak.
($22, Vinodivino, Brookline)