Weekday wine - 2018 Dehesa La Granja

2018 Dehesa La Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Léon

Zamora, Spain

Regular price: $21 per bottle

Sale price: $16 per bottle

So many wines, so little time.

That sums up the experience of many concerning wines from Spain. Spain has over 1.2 million hectares (2.9 million acres) planted in wine grapes, making it the most widely planted wine-producing nation, and the second largest producer of wine in the world, behind Italy and ahead of France and the United States. Archaeologists believe that these grapes were first cultivated sometime between 4000 and 3000 BC, long before the wine-growing culture of the Phoenicians founded the trading post of Cádiz around 1100 BC. The Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula around 200 BC has led some historians to suggest that the Roman advancing armies were responsible for the proliferation of grape vines throughout the area, but really, that role has been clearly overstated. 

How does one make sense of the wines of Spain? Many of the grapes are different and largely unknown outside of the peninsula and the regions have rules that are flexible (or ignored by wineries) and so wine-by-wine comparison is difficult. Perhaps the solution is not to try to understand Spanish wines as a whole but rather, just focus on the wines individually, a bottle, or even a glass, at a time.

This wine, of 100% Tempranillo, is from the northwest plains of Spain, from an ancient wine region and an estate with its roots in the 16th century. Purchased by the Fernandez family in 1998, the property and cellars were modernized and many of the vineyards replanted with old-clone Tempranillo. The existing plots of ungrafted old Tempranillo vines in the Guareña River Valley were left untouched and formed the basis for concentrated red wines beginning with the 1998 harvest. And this wine is just that; full and concentrated, meaty and brawny, deep and dense. It's ready to drink (already 5 years old) as its substantial tannins have melted into the savory fruit and earthy flavors. Don’t understand Spanish wines? No matter, just enjoy this one. (PW)

Insider’s tip

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