This unusual and satisfying red wine from Spain is one of the best values I’ve come across all year. It’s notable for its versatility, complexity, and outstanding price point. (Although Wine-Searcher puts the average price at $18, it’s available for less in many stores.)
Bodegas Borsao’s 2017 “Tres Picos” Garnacha is from Campo de Borja in the Aragon region of northeast Spain, a couple of hours from Barcelona and not far from the city of Zaragoza. This is Garnacha country. The grape, better known as Grenache in France and the United States, originated here and is still the signature variety. But Aragon and its four denominations of origin (DOs), including Camp de Borja, are still under the radar compared with other regions in Spain such as Priorat, which has earned a reputation for its world-class Garnachas.
That’s why the wines of Aragon (or Aragona as it’s known in Spain), offer such great value. Beyond Campo de Borja, the other DOs are Somontona, Cariñena, and Calatayud, and if you see these in your wine shop or online, they are well worth buying, with many in the $10 to $20 range.
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Borsao’s 2017 “Tres Picos” Garnacha lists alcohol at 15 percent, and normally such a high ABV is a red flag for me. But with its exceptional balance, the alcohol level is almost unnoticeable here. Bright red-berry aromas are followed by dark fruit notes on the palate, including concentrated blackberry and blueberry, with some strawberry also emerging, while touches of cocoa, leather, and minerals bring added complexity.
The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for five months in new French oak barrels. The oak influence is restrained, the wine is softly tannic, and none of the “heat” you may associate with higher-alcohol wines is present here. With its balanced and refreshing character, this wine was superb when poured, slightly chilled, alongside some grilled shell steaks on a warm evening.
The wines of Aragon are well worth discovering, and Borsao’s 2017 “Tres Picos” Garnacha is a perfect place to start.