Happy Birthday! No, I'm not doing my best Frosty the Snowman impersonation, but today is my birthday, 12/12/12, and I spent most of the day in New York, but made it home in time for a late dinner and a bottle of wine, and the wine I chose was the 2009 Las Rocas Garnacha. Now I partly blame my dinner companion last night, as I met a fellow Snooth board member, Greg T. in SoHo at a lovely little French bistro called La Sirene, which is all BYOB, with no corkage! So Greg brought a lovely 1998 Rioja so I've had Spanish wines on the brain!
This wine comes from Calatayud, which is deep in the interior of Aragon, Spain, and from what I've read, the terrain can be quite intimidating, very rocky, with lots of limestone, and quite arid. Yet somehow the Garnacha (or Grenache in France and elsewhere) vines took root, producing some of the loveliest wines I've had the pleasure of tasting, and as a bonus, they are seldom priced at a level that would suggest their true quality!
This wine has a lovely deep ruby color in the glass, and a nose that is a wonderful blend of jammy fruit, black cherries, currant, anise and somewhat of a sour twang, suggesting that the sweet fruit might be well balanced by acidity. The taste is an explosion of fruit in your mouth, with rich ripe berries, yet the acidity of some sour cherry notes really balance the fruit mid-palate. The finish is quite smooth, yet it has a wonderful woodsy sort of taste on the finish, which again is a surprising counterbalance to the rich fruit.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, particularly given the price, as this was a recent office wine club selection for only $8! As for pairings, for my birthday, I had a hankering for some Thai food, and there is a new Thai restaurant that someone told me about last week, called Thai Chef, which was right on the way home from the airport! So I enjoyed this one with some wonderful pad kee mao, and I found the fruit and acidity really played nicely with the spice of the dish, and the fragrant Thai basil! Not one of my more traditional pairings, but it worked, cheers!