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!

All my wine blogs, Garnacha

My first ever Veal Osso Buco with Garnacha Par Excellence

My first ever Veal Osso Buco with Garnacha Par Excellence

I know, I should be probably dieting like everybody else. I need it. But I didn’t make any New Year resolution regarding my weight issues. I watch what I eat year around. Unfortunately, for some reason, it doesn’t always show. Why bother when I know I will be hosting a private wine dinner the very first Saturday of 2011?

How do you diet with 5 courses and 5 different wines??

Food to me is very important part of well being. And not just any food, it must be good too! I love the whole process getting the idea, working, improvise and play with it, until it’s done to my liking.

My Osso Buco story wasn’t different. I saw some nice looking veal shank in Whole foods. Since I have never made it before (but I had it in the restaurants), it represented a challenge. I decided it shouldn’t be so hard and bought two good looking veal shanks.


OK, there was another reason too. But let’s start from beginning.

Thanks to an unbelievable generosity of a dear friend (let’s call him JO), part of my almost empty “wine cellar” got an unexpected makeover last week. Unexpected, but very, very appreciated!


Suddenly, I needed to create a special dinner to accommodate a very special bottle of wine. No problema para mí!

I started by looking for the recipe. I wanted the best, so I looked up Mario Batali’s version. I agreed with him that there is a beauty in simplicity (as long as you have fresh quality ingredients). Just to compare, I also looked up other respected Italian chef’s recipes but returned to Mario’s base.

Yet, as always, I ended up not following the recipe completely. But when the philosophy of the dish is understood, I believe it can take few twists here and there.

See my version of recipe here

As I was cooking my memory took me back to he beautiful Moncayo Mountains we traveled to visit the vineyards of D.O. Campo de Borja. Rough terrain that my stomach remembers as well. Inigo Alberto, (our guide) for some reason drove crazy fast.

Up and down the hills, on the dirty little roads, in his small car, gas and brakes, until I got car sick. My sickness later disappeared – about the time we got to Alto Moncayo wines during our wine tasting.

(Inigo later asked me to mention it in front of his bosses – so maybe they would finally buy him the Hummer he has repeatedly asking for). I totally brought it up in my thank you speech and you can see that it was received very well). I wonder if he got the car yet…
Anyway, visiting Bodegas Borsao and Alto Moncayo was one of the highlights of our Spanish trip. Our kind hosts spent quite some time with us, answering all our nosy questions and tasting their great wine portfolio with us. The catering chef, who brought an excellent menu for the tasting, even interrupted his vacation to be there! And, they have some of the most impressive tasting room we have seen!

The vineyards of Bodegas Borsao and Bodegas Alto Moncayo have a great potential – some of them located in about 2,000 ft elevation, planted between 1910-1967. Old vines have an extremely low yield, additionally decreased by green harvesting. The age of vine, the quality of the fruit, high elevation and a challenging soil is a promising combination for an incredibly rich and complex wines. And that’s exactly what you get here.

Starting with their super bargain Borsao red, Monte Oton or Tres Picos, to the high end of Alto Moncayo and Aquilon, these wines are a showcase of Garnacha Par Excellence. Although Campo de Borja is not as famous D.O. as for example Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Priorat, these wines are getting the attention they deserve! And the professional wine ratings are reflecting that as well.

Alto Moncayo Veraton 2007:
Wine Enthusiast October 2010: 91pts
Stephen Tanzer: 92pts 2010 review: 92pts!

2006 Vintage: Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: 94pts

The winemaker Jose Luis works closely with famous Australian winemaker Chris Ringland, who oversees the winemaking process. Jose Luis told us that exact age of some of their vines is unknown….

So, that’s my story with my first ever Veal Osso Buco and Garnacha Par Excellence relationship. It was delicious, although the wine ended up being much bigger than the dish. Next time, I will prepare a steak or lamb. We absolutely didn’t mind it though, and finished the delicious bottle. You can’t really put it back to the bottle once you decanted it. Ok, you can, but we didn’t feel like it.

Before my last sip I had a tiny bit of dark chocolate (and I am not a big fan of pairing chocolate with wine) – but it was an amazing transformation! This big, excellent Garnacha, approached by cacao became a velvety sensation.

And as far as the diet talk goes, isn’t veal a diet meat after all? I know, not the shank particularly, I hear you. Just so you know – it was delicious, but no, I didn’t eat the whole thing…