Wine Wednesday this week is dedicated to Bodegas Breca Rose from Jose Ordonez. This wine made from Garnacha was a lovely expression of the grape with lots of red fruits, floral notes including rose and violet, linked with great acidity and minerality. It also was quite high in alcohol at 14.50% which surprised me but should not have. Fermentation is done with indigenous yeast. The winery is located in Calatayud in the province of Aragon.
As Spain’s fourth largest region, Aragon is home to three main provinces: Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Zaragoza, the region’s capital which lies on the Ebro River has a substantial portion of the region’s inhabitants, around 600,000 people.
In terms of topography, Aragon contains both mountains, rivers, and plains. In the North, it has the highest peak in the Pyrenees called the Pico de Aneto. In the south the Sistema Iberico range divides the Ebro River basin from the Meseta. In the middle of the region, the Ebro River basin provides vast plains, at times quite dry, as well as rolling hills.
The climate here is Continental with considerable diurnal temperature swings in certain areas as well as rainfall. Other forces to combat include a wind called the Cierzo which is a cold one from the northwestern.
The soils in the vinyards tend to have limestone, with clay and often pebbles, stones or rocks on the surface. Some also have slate and granite. The vineyards are on the banks of the Ebro River and in the foothills of both mountain ranges in the region.
While some still debate it’s origins, it has come to be accepted wisdom that Garnacha comes from Aragon. They have many 100 year old vines and much clonal variety which is said to confirm this as it’s birthplace rather than Sardinia. That said, Garnacha has moved around Europe and flourished in many countries. It is the most widely planted in Calatayud DO, Campo de Borja DO, and Carinena DO. Somontano DO, the Northernmost DO is more focused on international varieties.
Many of the vines in Aragon are bush trained and quite old, some dating back to 1890. Garnacha is a very hardy grape and has been able to survive all these years. Garnacha can become oxidized so generally speaking the improved hygiene levels in Spanish wine-making have led to a renewed focus on the grape as a monovarietal wine rather than just as part of a blend.
Jorge Ordonez used very ancient Garnacha clones in his vineyard.