July 2024 Crianza Wine Club

Evodia 2020 Garnacha

Regular Price: $13.99
Club Price: $ 11.89


Calatayud, Aragon, in Northern Spain has been producing some excellent old-vine garnachas lately. I recently got the opportunity to try the 2020 Evodia from Eric Solomon Selections made from 100% Garancha and I was shocked to learn that fifty years ago there were almost 10 times the amount of acres under vine than today. Unfortunately from 1980 to 2013 the EU handed out huge grants to growers who would dig up their vineyards. Fast forward to today, wines from Calatayaud are progressive and maybe heading towards Chateauneuf du Pape reputation.  Just for a moment, picture head-trained garnacha vineyards, olive and cherry orchards and fields of grain. A progressive wine growing region, Evodia vineyards are sustainable and sourced from several rural villages in Calatayud (Atea, Acered, and Alarba.) Unlike garnacha’s counterpart over in the Rhône Valley, (aka grenache,) the soils here are slate and quartz over clay, giving wines more minerality and liveliness. The landscape and growing conditions here are extreme to say the least.  Garnacha can be a “sugar factory” especially in warm climates which results in high alcohol wines. Although it comes in at 14.5% ABV, I found it to be surprisingly fresh and quaffable. I attribute this to the high elevation growing conditions (upwards to 1,000m or about 3,200ft), pisara soils and late-ripening grapes. 

The intriguing part of this wine is reading about the engologists fermentation and aging choices:  Hand harvested, partially destemmed but not crushed. 20 day fermentation in concrete vats, 7 day gentle post-fermentation maceration. 6 months in concrete tanks (80%) and neutral French and American oak barrels, and concrete eggs (20%).  All these details result in a red wine that has good acidity and body with fine tannins and a long finish. The best part of this wine?  It would pair amazingly with summertime backyards barbecues. A perfect accompaniment to grilled corn (I’m thinking elote), hot links or a bison burger. This wine is super juicy and bursting with notes of fresh red raspberries, cherries and strawberries.  While it may be perceived as “sweet,” Evodia is no doubt dry and well balanced with the additional notes of mint, cooking herbs (anise, thyme), spice and this lively minerality component, a result of the terroir. I hope to see more wines from Calatalyud since this is a great example of old-vine garnacha at a very reasonable price. Decant at least 30 min before enjoying. Saúde–AP

Cabriz, 2019 Colheita Seleccionada
Dão Tinto

Regular Price: $17.99
Club Price: $  15.29


During my twenties I spent many summer days on warm granite slabs. My appreciation for granite was expressed through my rock climbing experience at the crag.  Recently I found a new passion for rocks that doesn’t require ropes and special shoes. Geology isn’t just for gem collectors and “dirtbags” (a lighthearted term referring to those who prefer climbing above all else) it’s also for wine appreciators who obsess over terroir.  

The Dão, a winegrowing region in Northern Portugal, has been producing some fantastic wines as of lately.  This month we are pouring ourselves a glass of the 2019 Cabriz Colheita Seleccionada, a blend of Alfrocheiro, Aragonez (Tempranillo,) and Touriga Nacional. Quinta de Cabriz is located between the two main rivers that cross the Dão region: The Mondego and The Dão. The Dão achieved DOC status due to its tough, crystalline granite that the river carved over millennia. When magma beneath the Earth's crust cools it creates granite. Granitic soils vary depending on the location and weather. Winegrowers love granite for its excellent drainage resulting in low yields. That “minerality” note we love to use may come from the elevated pH since the vines have to dig deep to get any nutrients. 

While I find white wines tend to take on a “high tension” or “voltage” from growing in granitic soils, I still find this red blend lively and fresh–reminiscent of a clarete but with a bit more concentration and finesse from time spent in French oak barrels.  At 13% ABV (which is fairly low considering the grape varieties) this wine packs a punch with intense aromas of amarena wild cherries and wet stone. That minerality component came through the nose rather than the palate which reminds me of my days scrambling on rocks in the Sierras. This wine has surprisingly silky tannins with medium acid and body leading to a persistent finish.  With its dominant fruity characteristics, this would be a perfect accompaniment to Teppanyaki (Hibachi.)  And for my fellow climbers out there, this is one of those low-risk high-reward kinda wines. Saúde–AP

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