Wine on Fire: Garnacha de Fuego 2009

fireI just had an orgasmic food and wine experience. And it wasn’t something exotic, like Sauteed Seaweed and Toasted Coconuts paired with Romanian Sauvignon Blanc. It was just pizza. Good old American Pizza, and I ate it with a Spanish wine called Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines 2009.

The pizza was simple — my favorite Hawaiian pizza, which is a potentially odd combo of red sauce, ham and pineapple (easy on the cheese). The flavors are unexpectedly great: the sauce is tangy, the baked pineapple is sweet, and the ham is salty. What could be better?

The wine is also relatively simple. It says right on the label that it’s made from the Grenache grape (that’s Garnacha in Spanish), and it comes from a region in Northeastern Spain called Catalayud. It’s pretty hot during the day in Catalayud, but pretty cool at night, and if you want to get technical about it you’d call that an extreme “diurnal temperature shift.” But we’re being simple here, so we’ll just say this is a great combination of temperatures for growing wine grapes. The heat ripens the fruit, and the cold creates good acid in the grapes. Acid contributes to a well-balanced wine (it’s not too soft or “flabby”) and also makes it kick ass with tomato sauce, like the kind on my Hawaiian pizza.

Garnacha de Fuego comes from a winery called Bodegas Ateca, which makes many 90+ point wines and is a collaboration between the Gil family (who make 90+ wines such as Juan Gil) and Jorge Ordonez. I’ve written other posts about Ordonez, who I consider to be the world’s best negociant. He finds great Spanish wines at every price point and brings them to us here in the USofA, and I for one have enjoyed every one I’ve tasted.

So back to Fuego. The Grenache used to make this wine comes from vines that are 60 to 80 years old. You might say, “Aren’t those vines a little long in the tooth to produce good wine?” On the contrary– old vines create wines with more complex flavors, because the roots grow way down deep in the soil where there are many different components that can influence flavor. These vines also produce relatively low yields, which also concentrates flavors in the grapes hanging from them.

So how does Fuego smell and taste? Well, good. But beyond the obvious, the nose offers dark berry flavors and a hint of smoke. The palate is rich and intense, with concentrated dark cherry and berry flavors, toasty oak and a bit of cocoa. And then the acide kicks in, but you don’t so much taste it as feel it reflected in the food. The acid in Fuego bounces off the acid in something like my pizza and makes a very happy symphony in your mouth.

This wine’s on fire — and if you got past freshman Spanish class, you know that  means “Fuego.” Grab a bottle of this under-$10 treat and enjoy a great wine and an outstanding value. Cheers!

  • Share/Bookmark

One Response to “Wine on Fire: Garnacha de Fuego 2009”

Leave a Reply


Wine Accessories

Switch to our mobile site