A couple of hours from Barcelona, the Aragon region of northeast Spain is Grenache country. Known as Garnacha in Spain, the red grape thrives here, and within Aragon, Campo de Borja is one of the leading denominations of origin.
With its arid climate and relatively high altitude, Campo de Borja lies in the foothills of the Moncayo mountain range and produces some of Aragon’s most exciting Garnachas. One of them is the superb 2017 “Veraton” from Bodegas Alto Moncayo, which was established in 2002 and farms 225 acres of vineyards.
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Alto Moncayo quickly established itself as one of Campo de Borja’s leading producers. Although the winery itself is young, the grapes used in its Veraton are from vines between 30 and 50 years old grown in iron-rich clay and slate soils. This “old-vine” Garnacha produces the concentrated fruit that’s a hallmark of this $32 wine. (Two other wines made by Alto Moncayo are from grapes 40 to 100 years old.)
Veraton is big yet balanced, showcasing dark berry fruit with notes of chocolate, leather, balsamic, and a touch of black licorice. The wine, which received 16 months of aging in French and American oak barrels, has a smooth tannic structure.
This is a quintessential wine to pair with all kinds of meats and stews, and will also work well with grilled vegetables seasoned with herbs and served on a bed of couscous.
With its stunningly beautiful scenery, Aragon deserves far more attention as a wine destination once we can all start traveling again. Until then, wines like Alto Moncayo’s Veraton can transport us there.