Tag Archives: Garnacha

Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004

Viña Ardanza 2004
Viña Ardanza Reserva 2004


Cost: $35.00

Where buy now: Thomas Liquors

Grapes: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2004


Yo estoy enamorado de vino de Rioja, Viña Ardanza. This baby will set you back a cool $35, but baby, it’s so worth it. I know, I know, my last wine choice was under $10 and this one is more than $30, what gives? All I can say is that my wine drinking habits are about as bipolar as I am. I never said I made sense.


I first experienced this wine last Fall at Terroir in TriBeCa, NYC. We were on vacation, and our mantra: fuck money, let’s do this right. While at the bar, I asked the keep what she’d been drinking lately. The gal poured me a taste of this wine.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “I do like Rioja.”


Swirl, smell, sip.

Swirl, sip.



Eyes rolled back in my head. Hot. Damn.


I asked for a full pour. She advised it was $18 a glass. You know what, I didn’t even balk. Not because I was on vacation, but because it was worth every penny.


A bit surprised, she blessed me with a very generous pour. I savored that pour for a good long while.


It haunted me.


Flash forward three months and I found myself at Thomas Liquors on a Saturday at 9:30 pm,  sneaking in during the last ½ hour of their wine sale. I’m perusing, grabbing comfort bottles here and there. Then, I looked up, and… There it was. Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004, sitting proudly on the top shelf. An overhead bulb mimicked that of a spotlight,  it’s gaze directly showcasing this glorious bottle. As if in a trance, I slowly extended my arm and gently reached for the bottle. Oh, I was so giddy!


I’ve written about other Riojas but not one of this caliber. A quick reminder Rioja is not a grape varietal rather it is wine made with grapes from the La Rioja region of Spain. Grape varietals include: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Macabeo. La Rioja Alta is a winery celebrating 125 years. Back in 1942, they registered Viña Ardanza (now their most famous wine) which is dominantly a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha.


This Rioja has all the moves! The foreplay, the love-making and the knee weakening orgasm all in one bottle. It embodies the weathered love of plump ruby red fruit in concert with rich, supple spice, vanilla and leather. This is balanced out by commanding, yet, soft tannins and a finish that does not over stay it’s welcome. Tastebuds flare in delight as the delicate tannins and acidity create structure telling you this is it – this is THE one. You tenderly swallow this wine, your heavy eyelids falling victim to the Rioja’s seduction. Eyes closed, you pause to catch your breath (not too fast- you don’t want to be selfish). However, your breathing begins to amp up again knowing you get to enjoy this moment over and over and over again (until you drain the bottle dry.)

Need a tissue?

Borsao Berola

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Sorella Wines & Spirits

Grapes: Garnacha, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2009

Borsao Berola

I can’t tell you how depressed I’ve been the past couple of weeks. You see, I fell victim to a nasty cold-turned-sinus infection. A decidedly unwelcome guest who decided to “play house” with my body for over two weeks. What did this mean? It meant no energy, no going out, no breathing through my nose.  Now, breathing difficulties are one thing- a bad hand dealt, for sure. But what made this personal was it meant two more horrible things: no drinking and no tasting. Good God, why? WHYYYYY?!? Life, as I knew it, was over.

After a full week, I tried some vino. I had to. My blood was curdling from the lack of sweet nectar. It was like a sailor suffering from surly scurvy at sea. You know what? Terrible. Ugh. Disgusting. I honestly thought it was corked. Goddamn my faulty tastebuds, trampled, tainted by zinc lozanges and antibiotics. So, it was back to drinking mugs of hot water like an old Betty.

Almost a full week later, I gave it another try. This time with a bottle of Borsao’s Berola. A Spanish blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Cabernet. Clouds parted, gorgeous rays of sunshine beamed through. It gave my once “Weekend at Bernie’s” taste buds something to embrace,  and I got to taste it paired with a ribeye steak, mushrooms and arugula. I was back baby, I was back!

This wine froliced on my tongue. I can’t tell you how happy I became. I then realized truly how much of my happiness revolves around taste. Alas, I’ll save that deep shit for my therapist.

Let me get down to the wine flavors. Mmm, glorious flavor. Purply blackberry Garnacha married with the smokey jam of Syrah, finished off with Cabernet tannins- a delightful berry-y, woody jam of a wine.

If Evodia is a go-to, spend the few extra bucks and buy this. Drink alone or with food. Drink, be happy, and never take these things for granted. I know I shan’t.

Marques de Montañana

Cost: Average price $8

Where buy now: Trader Joe’s – $4.99

Grapes: 100% Grenache or en Espana, Garnacha

Region: Catalyud, Spain

Vintage: 2009

Marques de Montanana
Marques de Montanana

So, it’s a Monday night. I’d say I put in an unexceptional day at work.  Do I deserve a glass of wine?

Hell yes, I do!

In effort to keep up with my debt diet, I decide to cook some dinner using whatever I can scrounge up. I see a freezer full of frozen vegetables (apparently a 10 for $10 sale at Cub is titillating to my husband) and stale ice cubes.  Since I do not share this love of frozen vegetable medleys, I peruse the refrigerator.

Yes! I spy the wheel of brie I forgot I bought at Costco. (Don’t ask- apparently I had provocation to buy an entire wheel of it.)  Oh, and what’s that?  Another hastened purchase: a bottle of something called Bronco Bob’s Roasted Raspberry & Chipotle sauce. I cut myself a wedge of brie, pour the sauce over it, and establish my happy place.

Now, for the trifecta! I pour myself a bounteous glass of Grenache, Marques de Montañana, that I found for $4.99 at Trader Joe’s. Now, it isn’t the most flavorful Grenache I’ve ever tasted. But, hell, it is Monday night and I’m chowing a wheel of brie smothered in raspberry chipotle sauce. It’s going down real easy.

Spanish Garnacha is typically palletable and super affordable- it’s tough to go wrong.  Hints of spice, berry, easily goes with a hamburger as it does some fancy Serrano ham.

So, if you’re looking for a simple red wine that won’t be a flavor dominator, I recommend braving the stupid crowds at Trader Joe’s and picking up at least 2 – 3 bottles; Tuesday night is right around the corner.