Gnarley But Nice

Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines 2007 ($7.95 at Rooster Brother) is a yummy red with a story.

It is a Spanish wine, a product of the Calatayud region in the southwest, 3,000 feet above sea level, where life is hard and the soil is gravely and dry and a rattlesnake must pack his lunch.

These are not Sonoma County conditions. Dry soil that is low in nutrients and high in lime content doesn’t sound all that promising, but there is a modest amount of rain in the region and the soil is sufficiently permeable to allow water to the roots. The vines that provide the best grapes are old and gnarled.

We don’t know anything about the properties of gnarled, old vines (astute readers will note that we don’t know anything about wine, either) but there’s no denying that Garnacha de Fuego is exceptionally rich, plummy and delicious. The popularity of the wines of Calatayud has spurred investment in technology and cultivation, so expect to see more varieties from this region.

So quick, before it gets all popular, try a bottle now. You can say you had Old Vines when it was young.                              

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]