All my wine blogs, Borja, Garnacha, Rose wines, Spain

Borsao Rosé 2011

When I saw this year’s new release of Borsao Rosé on the shelf, I could not resist. How could you go wrong with a rosé wine from the famous Garnacha region (Campo de Borja), that only costs $6.99 a bottle?

I am a big fan of Borsao wines – and it’s not just because I was lucky enough to visit their vineyards and the winery few years back.

I already enjoyed their wines before that, for years. But when you are given the opportunity to meet the winemaker, to see the soil, vines and people involved in all that labor, the love for the brand gets another vibes.

Old vines Garnacha (Alto Moncayo Mountains,  Borja
Old vines Garnacha (Alto Moncayo Mountains, Borja

It’s is mainly because their wines are consistently really good. From the cheapest (or better said inexpensive) line of bottles such as Monte Oton, Borsao Tinto – that range around $5-8 retail, to their incredible Tres Picos, unbelievable value for under $20. Not to forget about their newest project, Borsao got involved in, the superb Alto Moncayo wines.

Therefore I am familiar with the taste of Garnacha wines coming from this winery, especially the old vines with their very typical spice, sweetness and a very concentrated dark fruit flavors. Credit to those attributes goes to the high quality old vines (the winery doesn’t have records on some of their oldest vines, to figure out how old they really are), and the very unique soil of red clay (rich in iron), mixed with red slate, that they were planted in. The Borsao vineyards are located high in the Alto Moncayo mountains (I still remember how sick I felt when Inigo Alberto drove us, very fast, up and down those mountains, on the dirt roads, in his little car.)

Our guide Inigo and Jose Luis - the Borsao's winemaker
Our guide Inigo and Jose Luis – the Borsao’s winemaker

So how was the Borsao rosé? Lovely, rich salmon pink color, as the Garnacha grape gives it a lot of color from its thick skin. Refreshing, fruity scent of raspberries and dark fruit. At the first sip, it felt like – OK, lovely, not particularly exciting wine, nice for summer (and great for that price, right?). A lot of fruit, I missed the acidity to balance it out, it almost felt  (as my husband put it), a little flat. Still, much better than many rosé wines I tasted lately, for a much higher price. Don’t forget, for years I am being spoiled by Muga Rosé, that I consider one of the best Rosé wines made in Spain. So balanced, so rich, simply delicious.

But then we took a bite into our turkey sandwich, I prepared with sweet roasted peppers, lightly drizzled with hot Sriracha. The other sip of Borsao rosé was very surprising.

Hey – the wine’s true colors showed up! The heat of the sauce brought up the spices in the rosé, suddenly it felt balanced much better, it was vibrant, it woke up all our senses. I loved it – and must say, it’s a damn great bottle of rosé for that price!

I just hope that since my last visit, my new Spanish friend Inigo finally got his desired hummer that I strongly  advocated for with his bosses!

Borja, Garnacha, Old vines, Red wine, Spain

Borsao Tres Picos 2008

Winemaker: Jose Luis
Grape: 100% Garnacha (Grenache) Old Vines
Region: D.O. Campo de Borja, Spain

See other wines from this producer:
Monte Oton
Alto Moncayo Veraton

Professional reviews of this vintage:
Robert Parker : 91 points
International wine cellar: 91 points

Named by the three mountain peaks bordering this vineyard, this wine will take you by surprise. I remember first time I tasted this wine and was totally impressed with it. At that time, it was about $14.00 a bottle.I immediately picked it as one of the wines for my upcoming Spanish wine dinner – a when we came to the date, I was only left with few bottles for my wine dinner.
The inventory of Tres Picos was already gone. Sold out.It was very upsetting, because everybody loved the wine and wanted to buy some. That tought me a lesson to keep an eye on values like this one and buy it immediately when the vintage is released.
When I visited Bodegas Borsao, a producer of this wine, I began to understand why. Located high on the slopes of Moncayo Mountains, the old vine Garnacha have to struggle in really rough terrain. Low nutrition soil results in low yields (less than 2 tons per acre).

See my blog about my visit to Borja

But the quality of the wine is so high, it doesn’t need an additional support of heavy oak to get the body and concentration it needs to shine. There are only few thousands cases made for the United States market and they go fast.

The fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. Only half of the harvested grapes are aged in French oak barrels for 10 months. The rest is aged in stainless steel.

Despite that the wine shows huge complexity, and incredible balance. It was instant love every vintage, since I first tasted it. A friend just brought me a bottle of the latest, 2008 vintage. I couldn’t wait to open it and I was very impressed, as always, when I finally tasted it.

Tasting notes:
Intense aroma of dark cherries and light aroma of wild flowers. Beautiful, ruby red with purple tones. On the palate it offers you a huge expression of ripe fruit, blackberries or dark cherries, with light dust of cocoa and lovely spice that makes you to longing for more. It reminds me of a really good Cotes du Rhone red.

Garnacha here is incredibly balanced with just right amount of acidity and silky tannins. It’s worth to decant it or at least to leave the bottle open for an hour or so. It will slowly grow on your tongue, as you continue sip it. To me, this is very seductive, clean, elegant and impressive wine with a really long finish. Tres Picos is a wine of ridiculous value (as it always was) and I need to buy some more before it’s gone!

Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 18.00

Ideal food pairing:
Gourmet sliced pork with Mirasol peppersPork chops with wine and capers, Easy pork chops with onions and pepers, Shish kebab with eggplant hash and Tzatziki sauce, My traditional lasagna,Lamb burgers with relish mayo,and many more options

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

Borja, Garnacha, Great wines under $10, Red wine, Spain

Monte Oton 2008

Winemaker: Jose Luis
Grape: Garnacha
Region: Borja, Spain

See other wines produced by Bodegas Borsao:
Alto Moncayo Veraton
Borsao Tres Picos

This new wine made in Bodegas Borsao, Campo de Borja is not only attractive by the label, but wait till you taste it! Young but hearty, ripe and textured wine that didn’t age in oak, is a clear, full expression of rich fruit coming from volcanic soils of Moncayo.

R. Parker said:

The 2008 Monte Oton is more expressive aromatically. Spicy and vibrant on the palate and with a bit more depth and structure, this crowd-pleaser should also drink well for at least another 3-4 years.

Tasting notes:
Fruity, spicy and attractive up front, with a ripe blend of plum, raspberry and pepper flavors. Unbelievably focused for such an inexpensive wine, yet it’s also a little bit juicy and wild. Great, complex wine with a long finish. With a retail tag of $8 – $9 this is an excellent value!!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 10.00

Ideal food pairing:
Barbecue, hamburgers, chili, beef stew, sausages and peppers, meatloaf and many more