Another Spanish Bargain — Borsao Wine Review

spanishI’ll admit my prejudice right off the bat. I like Spanish reds. A lot.

For the combination of value and quality, it doesn’t get any better than the wines of Spain. But this wasn’t always so. Twenty years ago the country produced lots of wine, but most of it was simple and rustic. The technology was old-fashioned and many of the country’s vineyards had fallen into disrepair. But a man named Jorge Ordonez recognized the huge untapped potential in all the wonderful Old Vine vineyards in Spain, and set about re-creating the Spanish wine industry. He became a negociant like Georges duBoeuf in France, selecting vineyard sources and bottling many of them under his auspices. Today, he imports into the U.S. over 130 wines from 40 wineries. And I’ve yet to taste a bad wine in his portfolio. Robert Parker, Jr. has recognized  his work by naming him (twice) “Wine Personality of the Year.” And he single-handedly changed American wine drinkers’ perception of Spanish wine, introducing world-class wines from previously unknown regions such as Jumilla, Priorat, and Campo de Borja.

The wine I’m talking about today, Bodegas Borsao Red Wine 2008, is from the Campo de Borja region. It’s located in the northern province of Aragon, home to all kinds of colorful historical figures such as Henry VIII and one of his wives, Catherine of Aragon, and her famous mother, Queen Isabella of Spain. This region has been producing wine for many, many centuries. In the summer the climate is hot and dry, producing very ripe (read, high in sugar) grapes. The indigenous grape is Garnacha, known to most of us as Grenache.

So back to the wine. Borsao Red Wine is made from Old Vine Garnacha, and is unusual in one important respect: while most Spanish reds are liberally oaked, this one is aged in 100% stainless steel. The sweet vanilla we expect in Spanish reds is not a factor here. But you know what? You won’t miss it.

The nose hits you right away with ripe berries and spice, and the palate follows with plum and bright red cherry up front. The flavors are very juicy, with a substantial undertone of white pepper and spice. The finish shows easy tannins with some lingering acid to balance the ripeness. And with a substantial 14% alcohol content, you know there’s good body and ripeness.

If I had to put it in just a few words, I’d call this a “juicy, fruity, spicy food wine.” It’s just one of the many winners in the Jorge Ordonez portfolio. Look for this or any other Ordonez wine (you’ll see his name on the back label of every bottle) and let me know if you find any other favorites. Cheers!

Bodegas Borsao Red 2008 $9.99

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