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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5 comments on this post.
  1. Embrace the Diversity: The New Wines On The Block | Wine Cellars Club:

    [...] body and complexity that would cost you twice as much from domestic producers. (Read my reviews for Borsoa Red and Finca Resalso, or try anything that says “Jorge Ordonez Importer” on the back [...]

  2. Another Man of La Mancha? Finca Sandoval “Salia” review | Wine Cellars Club:

    [...] 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 [...]

  3. Wine on Fire: Garnacha de Fuego | Wine Cellars Club:

    [...] 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 [...]

  4. The Lincoln Lawyer:

    Hey, possibly this post is not on topic but in any event, I have been browsing about your site and it looks really neat. It is easy to see I am creating a new blog and I am struggling to make it look great, and supply excellent subject matter. I have learned a lot here and I look forward to additional updates and will be returning.

  5. Another Great Value from Spain | Wine Cellars Club:

    [...] rest of the wine world). They make many spectacular wines such as Borsao (the baby brother — read my review here), and Tres Picos (the muscular uncle). All of Bodega Borsao’s wines are the darlings of wine [...]

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