Another Man of La Mancha? Finca Sandoval “Salia” review

la manchaWe like Spanish reds. A Lot. We’ve enjoyed the cheap and cheerful, under$10 values such as Vina Borgia, Protocolo, and Borsao. And we’ve positively salivated over the big, lush, super-premium reds like El Nido Clio (scarce as hen’s teeth and now kinda pricey, thanks to an unbroken chain of 92+ ratings) and Finca Sandoval (ratings just as high, and just as big, brawny and rich).

So I practically jumped up and down and squealed “Yippee” when I heard there was another entry in the Great Tasting But Affordable Spanish Red Sweepstakes. Finca Sandoval “Salia” 2007 is the “everyday” red made at the estate of Spanish journalist Victor de la Serna. The estate is located in a recently-named D.O. called Manchuela, which is snugged between two rivers in southeast Spain’s La Mancha district. What, another Man Of  La Mancha? (Sorry, I’ve always loved Broadway musicals and couldn’t resist the pun).

Manchuela has existed as a recognized wine region since 2000, and is know for cultivating a little-known red grape called Bobal. That grape is included in the high-priced Finca Sandoval bottling, But the Salia includes 50% Syrah, 38% Alicante Bouchet and 12% Garnacha. The nose is intense and fragrant, with hints of blueberries and cedar, and the color is dark and opaque, suggesting a wine you’ll need to cut with a knife and fork. So I was surprised at the bright fruit on the palate, and the soft vanilla spice in the middle (it was generously oaked, with 11 months in mostly French oak barrels). Of course, there was still a rich and weighty mouthfeel, since Salia is unfined and infiltered, like all the Finca Sandoval wines.

This whole package sells for well under $20 ($18 here) and is a tremendous value at that price. It’s also part of the Jorge Ordonez portfolio, which I’ve stated is the best collection of imported wines that I know of. Once again, Ordonez delivers a top quality wine that’s way better than just “everyday”. Enjoy Salia with a hearty meal — a side of beef, maybe?

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