Las Rocas 2013 Vinas Viejas “Old Vine” Garnacha (92MV)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 085000016855
- Vintage: 2013
This is a blockbuster wine of not only power but real interest, complexity and character. Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas, comes from 60-100-year old Grenache vines planted at 2,500-3,500 feet above sea level. Aged ten months in old French and American oak, it possesses 15.5% alcohol along with a deep ruby/purple colour and copious notes of plums, raspberries, black cherries, lavender and liquorice, a full-bodied texture, and impressive purity, depth and minerally freshness. In summary, this is one heck of a wine at this price!
Las Rocas de San Alejandro is located in the region of Calatayud, about 150 miles northeast of Madrid, and is centered around the rivers of Jiloca and Jalon. Although there are still few wineries in the zone, the ones which are beginning to show with their wines why this region is so special.
Although the D.O. is quite young, vines have been grown in the zone for some time. About one eighth of the vineyard land’s production has been bottled at one of Spain’s best and most progressive cooperatives, San Alejandro. With an abundance of amazing raw material, Eric Solomon was able to commission several bottlings of very old vine fruit into what has become one of the most sought-after estates in the portfolio. Calatayud benefits from a continental climate with vast temperature differences between night and day. Harvests are much later than in other parts of Aragon, and the acidity/maturity/alcohol ratios tend to be more balanced.
As most of the vineyards lie on what was (thousands of years ago) an old river basin, the soil is comprised of brown limestone and loam over slate and gypsum. This particular soil is also ideal for production of olives, cherries, and other fruits. Jean-Marc Lafage (of Domaine Lafage in France’s Roussillon) is responsible for the Las Rocas cuvees.
With 1,200,000 hectares, Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world. As of 2004, data from OIV indicates that Spain has 35% more land under vine than Italy or France. However, due to harsh climate, historic setbacks, and past regulatory constraints on irrigation, Spain lags France and Italy in yields and volume of wine produced.
Spain is also the home to many varietals. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are widely planted. Grenache, planted in Southern France, is actually Spanish in origin. Other varietals include Viura (or Macabeo), Albarino, Verdejo, Airen, and Palomino and Pedro Ximenez.
Note there there are many local names for the same grape. For example, the massly planted Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre in Penedes, Tinto Fino or Tinta Del Pais in Rebera Del Duero, Tinta de Toro in Toro, and Cencibel in Valdepenas!
Spanish Wine Regions:
- Rioja Tempranillo and Grenache
- Galicia & Castilla y Leon Tempranillo, Albarino
- La Mancha Various
Like France and Italy, Spanish wines fall into a similar quality tiered system:
- Vino De Mesa: Lowest, most basic table wine category. Wine is often made from blended grape varietals and regions. No vintage date nor associated region allowed.
- Vino Comarcal: Like france’s vin de pays, the wine is associated to a classified region.
- Vino De La Tierra: Equivalent to France’s VDQS — a category down from DO.
- Denominaciones de Origen (DO): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, alcohol level, and production methods.
- Denominaciones de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOCa): The most prestigious category created in 1986 to further differentiate the DOs. There are ~55 DOs in Spain but only two — Rioja and Priorato — are prestigiously classified as DOCa.
Unlike Italy, Spain does not have a IGT category. To differentiate higher quality wine that does not satisfy the criteria of DOC (e.g. producers in the DO regions want to use a different grape or vinification method), a subcategory within Vino De Mesa was created. These higher quality wines are allowed to have a vintage year and the broader non-DO classified region on its label.
Useful Terms: DO wine must go through a certain period of aging time. Look for the following terms on the wine label to assess the quality and complexity of the wine:
- Vino de Cosecha: Vintage wine, with >85% of the grapes harvested in the vintage year.
- Crianza: Crianza means nursury in Spanish. The wine must be aged in oak barel for 6 months and in bottle for 2 years before being sold to public. * Riserva: Wine must be aged at least 3 years, of which 1+ yr must be in oak barrels. * Gran Reserva: Produced only in the best years, with approval from the local viticulture authority.