5 Garnacha from Spain with Spicy Spanish Pairings #WorldWineTravel

5 garnacha from Spain

In 2021, Sue and I joined the World Wine Travel group of wine writers to tackle a different region of Spain each month.I learned a lot about the geography of Spain, which grapes grow where, and about the regional cuisines. For December, the theme was “Writer’s Choice” and as a lover of Grenache, it was a no-brainer to feature Garnacha, the Spanish version. Sue found two organic Garnacha in Ojai, and I had three samples. But before we get to those wines. let’s review briefly what we wrote each month; a more thorough article is in the works. And if you don’t want to see the year in review, keep scrolling for the five garnacha paired with a delicious Fabada Stew– and the recipe too! 

4 Rioja wines

  • January La Rioja:  
    Regional Rioja Pairings: Tempranillo, Viura, Rosado with bean kale soup, orange avo salad, rack of lamb, patatas bravas” 

Rioja is located in northern Spain where the primary grape is Tempranillo which offers lots of structure and cherry fruit. We included RECIPES for PATATAS BRAVAS; HEARTY BEAN, KALE, CHORIZO SOUP; and  CITRUS SALAD WITH AVOCADO — all wonderful in winter and with these wines!  We wrote: “The meat, the beans, and the kale are like a holy trinity of flavors, rich, tart, spice. All of it going so perfectly with the wines.” The pairing made both much more exciting! Plus check out these previous articles about Rioja:

Marqués de Cáceres Cava with caviar and oysters

In February, we featured Cava from Catalonia as part of my “sparkling wine secrets” series, and once again we paired the wine with that amazing soup. This region is also in northern Spain below France located east of Rioja on the far eastern coast of Spain beside the Mediterranean Sea. Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan)  is near the Pyrenees mountains; the region’s capital Barcelona has the second highest population in Spain and it’s the fifth most populous city in the EU. Many of my friends have visited and they LOVE it there!  Interestingly, Cava is not made with “French” grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but with indigenous Spanish grapes like Xarel.lo, Macabeo, and Parellada.

Next we learned about D. O. Rueda which is synonymous with the Verdejo grape, a white grape grown on the high elevation plains in Spain for over ten centuries, and over 90% of the region is planted in Verdejo, up from 50% in 1980. We featured a grape from Marqués de Cáceres and highlighted their leader Cristina Forner.

Albarino from Galicia

For April, we went to the far west of Spain, Galicia, home to the spunky white grape Albarino. 

Anchovy tapenade sandwich

OMG these sandwiches were so darn good! Sue created the sandwich using several ingredients famous from Aragon: “Fresh cheese from Burgos, anchovies from Santoña, black olives from Aragón and walnuts from Extremadura.” Sue made the tapenade which she slathered on fresh soft bread. Then she layered burrata, Himalayan salted roasted walnuts, anchovy fillets, and topped with micro-greens. I preferred mine open face while Sue enjoyed hers with its top on. This is possibly the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life! 

This grape is catching people’s attention! 

Ventura County cider near Ventura County line

For July, we took the opportunity to share some ciders made in Ventura County– and we visited the Pier City Cider tap room.

This region of Spain is famous for Monastrell (also known as Mourvedre). Our pairing was inspired by a vegetable “tower” of grilled vegetables! 

Navarra is located in the hilly north of Spain just south of France, and the Camino de Santiago winds it’s way through the region. Yes the recipe is there at the link! 

Tio Pepe and Garbanzo Bean Soup

Andalucia is all about sherry! And you might be surprised how well sherry pairs with food! Yes, we did another ham and bean soup– this time with Morrocan spices and garbanzo beans. 

Ecce Vinum organic wines from Castille La Mancha

In November I took inspiration from “The Man from La Mancha” to share a few “impossible” dreams…
After a year of touring the wine regions of Spain, we conclude 2021 with a “Writer’s Choice” event — and we chose Garnacha!  We have five from three regions in Spain, and two of them are organic! 

Spanish Inspired Menu for Garnacha 

  • Butternut squash empanadas
  • Bistec con Patata
  • Shiitake mushroom tapas
  • Manchego rosemary roll up. 
  • Fabada stew (recipe below)
  • Ginger cookies 

5 Garnacha Wines from Spain

  • 2018 Care “Tinto Sobre Lias

  • 2017 Care Garnacha “Nativa”

  • 2016 Las Mordas de San Martin “Senda”

  • 2018 Bodegas Tres Picos Borsao Garnacha

  • 2017 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha

Care Tinto Sobre Lias

2018 Care “Tinto Sobre Lias”

SRP 2 for $30 
Grape Juice Wine Importer; Sue purchased.

A blend of sustainably grown grapes: 75% Garnacha, 25% Syrah. 

Color: Ruby with a pink rim, very bright, very pretty, give me jewelry this color

Aroma: Beautiful bouquet, violets, raspberry, baking spice, roses, potpourri, spice and florals, forest floor, the nose is so inviting 

Palate: Light in body, clean, fresh, nicely balanced between the fruit and the acidity, juicy raspberry on the front of the palate, rose water , watermelon finish. Great wine for the price. 

Pairing: Think grilled fish tacos with a fruit salsa, fantastic with our spicy fried chorizo, great with the manchego rollups, so great with the mushroom tapas the blue cheese and earth from the mushrooms brings out more fruit in the wine. Oh so good with the Fabada Stew the smoky richness of the soup love the fruit in the wine. This is such an assessable wine on its own, and with food it handles it well taking on different nuances. This affordable screw top wine can carry through from appetizer, to main dish to spice forward dessert. 

Care Nativa garnacha

2017 Care Garnacha “Nativa”

ABV 14.5%
SRP 2 For $30
Grape Juice Wine Importer; Sue purchased.

100% Garnacha

Color: Deep ruby, fuchsia rim

Aroma: Cherry, plum, clove, menthol, 

Palate: Very rich, dry, sweet vanilla, cherry, minty herbasciousness,  chalky texture, cherry pie, watermelon and strawberry on the finish, 

Pairing: The spicy fried chorizo on our cheese try was quite nice with the wine bringing out very nice fruit. Great with the manchego rosemary roll ups. I loved it with the butternut squash empanadas. the wine becomes full of sweet fruit when paired with the mushroom bruschetta. This wine loved the Fabada Stew because of the creamy beans and the smoked ham in the soup. Brings out perfect fruit in the wine and tames the oak that is present in the wine. Don’t bother to do this wine with a dessert, it does not do well with sweetness in the meal.

2018 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha

ABV 15%
SRP $18
Sample for review from Winebow Importers.

Old vine Garnacha vineyards cling to rugged terrain on the slopes of the famous Moncayo mountains yielding less than two tons per acre for a rich aromatic wine. From the D.O. of Campo de Borja, Bodegas Borsao’s mountain vineyards range in age from 35 – 60 years grown on stony soils with clay and limestone.

Color: Ruby with a mauve rim, looks to be fined and filtered. Pinot nourish in the glass. 

Aroma: Raspberry, earth, eucalyptus, sweet oak, vanilla, cherry tobacco, leather, 

Palate: Bright tart cherry, caramel, vanilla, the oak in the wine balances the big tart fruit, mushroom, earth, eucalyptus, very dry. this is a big bold wine. 

Pairing: The wine becomes very grounded with the mushroom tapas. The wine is very earthen, and the mushroom tapas is very earthen,  together they are quite grounded. The wine is a bit tart with the squash empanadas. Fabulous with the Favada Stew. I thought that this was the best wine with the soup. Everything together is rich and creamy and sweet together.

This wine makes the ginger cookie quite sweet and hot. there is no mid palate. It has the simplicity of cinnamon heart candy. It did not work so well. 

2017 Bodegegas Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha

2017 Bodegas Alto Moncayo “Veraton” Garnacha

ABV 15.5%
SRP $32
Sample for review from Winebow Importers.

Founded in 2002 to produce high quality Garnacha wines, Bodegas Alto Moncayo “Veraton” from the D.O. of Campo de Borja in Northern Spain comes from Old Vine Garnacha 30 – 50 years old. 

Color: Dense dark maroon, ruby rim, blood red when swirled in the glass

Aroma: Bright tart cherry, eucalyptus, cherry tobacco, rhubarb, raspberry, sweet vanilla, 

Palate: Bright tart cherry, cherry bark, pine tar, cocoa nibs, cinnamon stick, chalky tannins, buttered toast, raspberry finish, 

Pairing: Fabulous with the Favada Stew. The stew is salty, smoky and a bit sweet which plays so nicely with the wine. With food on the palate there is an herbal complexity that is present with the wine. The palate becomes alive, awake and excited with the wine. Aged manchego becomes sweet and nutty with the wine. Nice with the mushroom tapas, but it was not over the top. Great with the super spicy ginger cookie. We thought that a spicy curry ginger soup would be perfect with the soup. The finish is all about the ginger with this wine. 

2016 Las Mordas de San Martin “Senda” 

ABV 14.5%
Single Vineyard Garnacha – 
Sample for review

Writing on the bottle is in Spanish. something about hugs, smiles, happiness, and kisses. They are trying to send all of that to you in this bottle.

Color: Light bodied, garnet, copper rim, a bit cloudy

Aroma: Cherry tobacco, raspberry, mushrooms, earth, baking spices, ginger, clove, dusty rose, potpourri, eucalyptus. 

Palate: Bright tart cherry fruit, raspberry finish, very dry tannins, fresh fennel, 

Pairing: Wonderful with the fried chorizo. bringing out the bright fruit in the wine. The empanadas are also perfect loving the spice in the wine. Sue did not care for the wine with the empanada finding that the sweet squash fought a bit with the fruit in the wine. however, I found that I liked it when I ate it with the creamy sweet smoky salty richness in the soup. Ginger cookie and wine are a very nice. The wine is fruity and the cookie is super spicy making a great pairing. 

inspiring Bokisch book on Spanish food and tapas with suggested wine pairings; more on Bokisch wines coming up!

Fabada stew


Where we’ve been in Spain in 2021:

Next year we go to Oceania!

Jan- Western Australia – Camilla M. Mann
Feb- S Aus Red – Gwendolyn Alley
Mar- S Aus White – Jeff Burrows
Apr- Victoria Red – Lynn Gowdy
May- Victoria White – Wendy Klik
June- NSW Red
July- NSW White – Robin Bell Renken
Aug- Sparkling, Fortified, or Tasmania – Deanna Kang
New Zealand
Sept- N Island – Martinborough – Martin Redmond
Oct- N Island – other than Martinborough (Hawke’s Bay, etc…) – Linda Whipple
Nov- S. Island – Marlborough
Dec- S. Island – other than Marlborough (Central Otago, etc…)
Want to travel with me in 2022? 

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