Borja, Garnacha, Red wine, Spain

Alto Moncayo Veraton 2007

Winemaker: Australian winemaker Chris Ringland (in cooperation with Jose Luis)
Grape: 100% Garnacha (Grenache)
Region: D.O. Campo de Borja, Spain

See other wines made by Bodegas Borsao:
Monte Oton
Borsao Tres Picos

Reviews of this vintage:
Wine Enthusiast October 2010: 91pts
Stephen Tanzer: 92pts 2010 review: 92pts

In the Moncayo mountains, located just below the famous Rioja, in elevation among 1,200-2,000ft above the sea level – somebody wisely planted Garnacha.

Some of the vineyards are now over 100 years old. Some of the vines (as I was told when visiting the D.O., don’t even have exact record about their age. The rough terroire, poor nutrition soils and low yields – that’s always a promising combination for exceptional wines.

Bodeagas Borsao, that first started to take advantage of this potencial, produces a wide range of inexpensive, yet exceptional wines. Among their most popular are probably Borsao Tinto, newly Monte Oton, Borsao Crianza Seleccion or Tres Picos.

Although the first 2 of these wines are unoaked, rich and fruity red blends (Garnacha, Tempranillo, some Cabernet Sauvignon), their price is deep under $ 10.00 retail. Well balanced wines with a quality that has almost no competition at this price point. I had the pleasure to visit Tres Picos vineyard (-planted with old vines Garnacha, on the slopes of Moncayo Moutains), personally a few years ago.

Read my blog about the visit in Borja and see more picture

As the name suggests, there are 3 hills (tres picos) on the horizons of the vineyard and the vine has to struggle through rough terrain, with low rainfall, resulting in low yields. Although Tres Picos is very rich and full body, one would never guess that it is also stainless steel fermented (as their inexpensive cousins). Only half of the grapes for Tres Picos are aged in French oak for about 10 months. That’s how powerful is the Garnacha from the Moncayo Mountains.

Bodegas Alto Moncayo, created more recently in the town of Bulbuente, is joint venture of Jose Miguel San Martin, Jorge Ordoñez, Bodegas Borsao and Dan Philips in conjunction with famous Australian winemaker Chris Ringland. The Bodegas cultivates 153 acres of old clone Garnacha vines planted on hillside vineyards (few of them terraced), which are located in 3 villages.

The important ingredient is a very unique soil of red clay (rich in iron), mixed with red slate. Hillsides are also very poor in organic matter and shalow. Only the finest selection of the old vines Garnacha goes to three wines, produced at Bodegas Alto Moncayo: Alto Moncayo, Alto Moncayo Veraton and Aquilon (that is harvested from old vines hillside selection).

Veraton, coming from the town of Vera de Moncayo, comes from vines that were trained in the vaso system. Green harvesting, that lowers the already low yields, brings the vine to it’s maximum concentration and high quality. Hand selected, only the most perfect mature bunches are harvested within days, passing the vineyard several times.

The workers kept grapes in small boxes to prevent bruising of the fruit. Another careful selection was done on the winery’s sorting tables. Fermentation took place in a small open vats and wine then aged in new French and American oak barrels for 17 months.

Tasting notes:
Dark ruby color, and rich aroma of dark fruits, ripe plums and dark berries, with a hint of oak. On the palate you taste rich fruity wine, with notes of wild raspberries, blackberries and spicy oak. Beautifully balanced, impressive and complex, with velvety tannins that will soften even more with few years in the bottle.

One of the best Grenache expressions out there in this price range.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 29.00

Ideal food pairing:
Rich meat stews, Beef Bourguignon , Beef Brisket with Roasted Grapes, Beef Chorizo, My Best Chili Recipe, Shish Kebab with Eggplant Hash, Lamb Burgers with Relish Mayo, Lamb Chops with Dried Cherries and Port, Galician Paella

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