Imported wines can be tough to purchase, because there are so many wines brought in from so many areas of the world, with labels that you likely have never heard of, nor seen, before — particularly in the under-$15 range. Additionally, there are a ton of wines brought in for no other reason than the fact that the label says “Pinot Noir”, “Pinot Grigio”, “Chardonnay”, or whatever this month’s “hot varietal” might be.
Even a fairly well educated geek like me has trouble deciding whether an unknown imported wine is worth the few ducats in pocket (and those spare dollars are dwindling by the day!). As protection against buying a dud, I tend to rely on specific importers that have, over the years, consistently delivered wines with a strong price:quality ratio. However, it takes some time to find wines from specific importers — most of them stamp their name in small print on the back label of bottles. As a result, I often spend far too much time in wine shops pulling out my reading glasses and scrutinizing back labels, one after the other.
To save my eyes, Pannotia Vineyards has instituted a somewhat novel idea: to put the importer on the FRONT label; in fact, to make it the brand name. Because you see, there are no vineyards anywhere in the world called “Pannotia” (OK, maybe there are, but wines from such a place won’t be labeled as such). The literal meaning of “Pannotia” (puh-NO-shah) is “all the world is a single continent”. In other words, a wine with the Pannotia label can come from just about anywhere.
It’s an interesting concept brought forward by founder John Fawcett — find quality wines from different parts of the world, and brand it with the importer name, rather than the winery. Of course, this type of branding is not new — Opici comes to mind as one of the obvious, as does Ole Imports — but it is nonetheless intriguing (and saves my eyes).
Helping to establish the Pannotia brand are the distinctive, artsy, colorful labels, created by artist Gary Kelley. The bottles are indeed an attractive package, and the juice inside is pretty good, too. This particular wine is from Castilla, Spain, and made from the Garnacha (aka Grenache) grape.
Tasting Notes: Pannotia Vineyards Garnacha
Black and bell pepper aromas mix with black fruits and earth on the nose. Flavors of black raspberry, cranberry, and black cherry, and hints of vanilla and earth. Texture is glassy smooth. Tannins are mild, acidity is somewhere between mild and medium. The acid, in fact, is slightly tart when this wine is drunk alone, but is the perfect level to match with most mild dishes. For example, it was a good pairing to pasta with sausage marinara, and it would be equally complementary to leaner dishes such as turkey, chicken, and vegetarian. A good daily drinker. At around ten bucks, this is a good value.
a-7 t-7 b-8 fc-9 v-8 ~ 89 Points
Website: Pannotia Vineyards
Find this wine at a retailer near you using Vinquire