Wine Reviews: Grenache & Syrah from Spain & France

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-19-2019

I’m a big fan of Grenache, both as a varietal wine and of course it has a classic place in blends with Syrah and other Rhone grapes. This week, I have a handful of diverse Grenache wines from Spain, and a Grenache Gris from the Roussillon region of France really wowed me.

I also tasted a few Syrah-focused wines from the Southern Rhone appellation of Costières-de-Nîmes, whose wines I’ve really enjoyed in the past. The value can be excellent, too.

These wines were received as samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Bodegas Aragonesas Garnacha Coto de Hayas Centenaria- Spain, Aragón, Campo de Borja
SRP: $15
Medium purple color. Nose of dark cherries, black currants and raspberry jam, with cocoa, vanilla and mint. Full and saucy on the palate, a chewy, fleshy style with mild tannins and medium acidity. Juicy black cherries and blackberries, mixed with vanilla, cocoa and earth. Smooth, fun, pleasant, good stuff for near-term drinking. (87 points)

2016 Bodegas San Alejandro Garnacha Las Rocas- Spain, Aragón, Calatayud
SRP: $12
Bright purple color. On the nose, spicy red and black cherries, raspberry jam, with black licorice and raspberries in dark chocolate notes.Full and chewy on the palate, juicy and fun with some light tannins and medium-low acidity. Plums, raspberry and blackberry jam, the fruit is backed up with anise, cola and dark chocolate. Fun, fruity, but well-made and solid for the price. (86 points)

2013 Las Moradas de San Martín Senda- Spain, Madrid, Vinos de Madrid
SRP: $15
Light purple color. Rich and dark on the nose with roasted figs, black cherries, along with anise, magic markers and coffee. Full-bodied, medium tannins, medium-low acidity. Dark plums, currants, saucy fruit mixed with spiced black tea, anise, charcoal and cedar. Bold, forward but built well. Calls for a big cut of grilled meat. 10 months in French oak. (87 points)

2015 Bodegas Ignacio Marin Ballad- Spain, Aragón, Cariñena
SRP: $20
Light purple color. Classic, sweet, rich Garnacha aromas of raspberry jam, plum sauce, with some vanilla and dark chocolate. Fully, velvety, soft tannins, low acidity, this is all about the sweet plum cake and saucy raspberry fruit. Some coffee, chocolate and vanilla accents as well. Fun, chewy, rich, crowd-pleasing dessert wine. (86 points)

2015 Domaine Jones Grenache Gris- France, Roussillon, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes
thumbnail (1)SRP: $28
Deep yellow color. Love the nose: deep yet bright, with apricot, lemon curd, lime, salted almond, sea breeze, crushed chalk. Plump texture, a fascinating depth and waxy element, but tangy too, and the balance is lovely. Lemon, orange pith, apricot, with lots of sea salt, chalk, mountain stream, minerals, as well as honey, white tea and olive oil-like elements. Complex, vibrant, gorgeous. (91 points)

2015 Ferraton Père & Fils St. Joseph La Source - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph
SRP: $32
Light purple color. Aromas of plums, juicy black cherries, topped in roasted herbs, espresso, campfire smoke and black pepper. Medium-bodied with medium+ tannins and moderating acidity, nice grip but the wine is fleshy and lively, too. Tart black currants and roasted figs and plum cake topped in charcoal, espresso, some black olives. Nice depth but also quite vibrant and ready to drink, although this could easily be cellared for a few years. (88 points)

2016 Domaine de la Rectorie Banyuls Cuvée Thérèse Reig - -France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Banyuls
SRP: $33/500ml
thumbnailDeep purple color. Saucy blueberries, roasted figs, along with clove, toasted coconut, vanilla and coffee grounds. Full and bold on the palate with quite strong tannins but medium acidity, plenty of sweetness, but the balance is aligned very nicely. A warm compote of blueberries, blackberries, roasted fig, laced with charcoal, clove, graham cracker, cinnamon. Complex and evocative already, this is an excellent Banyuls with many, many years ahead. I’d love to bury this for 20 years and hope I’m alive to taste it. (92 points)

2017 Château de Campuget Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé 1753- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $16
Medium copper color. On the nose, an explosion of peaches, apricot, topped in nettle, honeysuckle and tropical flower petals. Plump texture on the palate but fresh acidity. Loads of white peaches, cantaloupe, apricot and lemons. I get notes of chalk, sea salt, lots of spicy floral and tea elements, some pepper and herbs. Juicy and fruity but vibrant and quite complex. 80% Syrah and 20% Vermentino. (89 points)

2015 Domaine de Poulvarel Costières-de-Nîmes Les Perrottes- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $32
Light purple color. Dark and saucy on the nose with black cherry compote, loaded with violets, black pepper, coffee and charcoal. Full-bodied, solid grip from the tannins, medium acidity. Darker, Syrah-dominated fruit (blackberries and black cherries) mixed nicely with elements of pepper, cocoa, dark chocolate and earth. Big and dark but showing some good complexity, but I think this will be more expressive in two-to-four years. 65% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 5% Carignan. (89 points)

2014 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Païs- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $20
Medium ruby color. Lots of aromas of pepper, sage, leather, grilled lamb, along with raspberries, cherries and plums. Full but fresh on the palate, the velvety tannins provide backbone while the acidity keeps the wine lively. Cool cherries, plums and raspberries laced with pepper, leather, chewing tobacco, grilled meats, and notes of earth and minerals as well. Showing very well now but this could hold for at least a few years. 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault. (90 points)

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