The wines of the Aragon region in Spain’s northeast offer some of the best values in the wine world — with strong examples available for $10 or less. Though overshadowed by storied regions such as Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Priorat, wines from the five Aragon DOs (denominations of origin) deserve broader exposure in the United States. Aragon is Garnacha country — the grape is called Grenache in southern France — and the wines combine red fruit notes and minerality and can be surprisingly complex.
When young, Garnacha has a fresh and lively quality, and that’s certainly the case with the 2018 Garnacha from Honora Vera, which is one of the best red-wine bargains out there. It is made in the Calatayud DO, from vineyards that benefit from the elevation and cooling effects of the region’s rolling hills.
Aromas of red berry and black pepper jump out from the glass, followed by notes of red and black cherry, raspberry, and blueberry on the palate, punctuated by pepper and mineral accents. There is a slight vanilla overlay from two months of oak aging. A moderately firm tannic structure suggests that it can age for a few years, but it’s refreshing and delicious in its youth.
Honoro Vera is made by the Ateca Winery, a project of the much larger Gil Family Estates, which owns estates throughout Spain.
The wine paired beautifully with grilled lamb chops and will drink nicely with white meats, burgers, and even pizza.