While it’s obvious that most wines are made from grapes, it’s uncommon for a pontificator such as myself to describe one as “grapey” … we wine snobs and scribes are more apt to attach descriptors such as “forest-floor earthiness”, “musky feral aromas”, “baritone richness”, and my recent favorite, “umami character” (you can’t make this stuff up!).
However, I’m going to go against the grain and say that Vina Alarba Grenache is simply, “grapey”. It smells grapey and tastes grapey — as in grape juice or grape jelly.
It’s more than that actually … the grapey-ness (is that a word?) is part of the open, ripe fruit aroma that also has a hint of red licorice. In the mouth you get the same grape jelly character along with red licorice and similar candylike flavors upfront, held together by mild to medium acidity and mild tannins that give enough structure to match with a wide variety of foods. Despite the perceived sweetness — which by the way makes in an excellent match for roast duck with plum sauce, and meats doused in BBQ sauce — the wine finishes dry, with a balanced aftertaste.
In some ways it reminds me of Beaujolais Nouveau … only, a Nouveau with more structure, seriousness, and length. Though a wine connoisseur with a cellar full of Bordeaux would likely scoff at this wine, it has its place with those of us who have an appreciation for solid wines under seven dollars. Match it with the suggestions above, Mexican fare, and non-snobbish appetizers (i.e., pigs in blankets, “port wine” cheese, hot poppers). This wine also qualifies as an excellent introduction to the “white wine only” crowd.
a-6 t-6 b-6 fc-7 v-10 ~ 85 points
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