jamie goode's wine blog: The new Spain: Ochoa Graciano & Garnacha

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The new Spain: Ochoa Graciano & Garnacha

Spanish reds are changing. For the better. In the past, you could bet your salary that most reds above a certain price point would have spent too long in the wrong sort of oak (American), and as a result would be washed out and reeking of vanilla and coconut. There was a bit of a renaissance a few years back, and then you could bet that the more ambitious wines would be overextracted, a little over-ripe, very sweet, and with loads of French oak. Now, however, Spanish winemakers are realizing that with their fantastic resources of warm, sunny climates and old vines, they can make wines with wonderful fruit presence that doesn't need all that much oak to enhance them. The result is increasingly impressive, commercially astute wines like this one from Navarra producer Ochoa. If more producers do what Ochoa are doing, then Australia and California are in for one hell of a beating.

Ochoa Graciano & Garnacha 2005 Navarra, Spain
A beautiful, fruit-forward red wine made with Grenache combined with the highly regarded but now rare Rioja grape Graciano. Deep coloured, the dominant feature here is vibrant, juicy, sweet raspberry and dark cherry fruit with very little oak impact and a spicy, tangy finish. This is a stylish, modern red wine of real appeal, for current drinking (it's sealed with a purple coloured synthetic cork). 89/100 (7.99 Taurus Wines, Christopher Piper, Bentley's, Arthur Rackhams)

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At 9:15 PM, Anonymous ryan said...

I wish there were more doing this. I still run into daily way too many Spanish reds that are over oaked, and extracted beyond recognition. While some have improved and there are ones showing a bright future, I think we still have a ways to go before the trend towards uber modern wanes.

Then again, I hope I'm wrong! :)

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

there's good modern and bad modern I guess. The thing that bothers me is when people go for extreme ripeness and end up with mushy dead fruit wines. That, and incredible over-oaking, too.


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