Viña Alarba 2001 Calatayud ($7.99)
Subtitled "Old Vines Grenache" in English, this wine is said to be made from 40-year-old vines. Clear dark ruby in color, it shows surprising reddish-orange sparks when held up to a bright light. Full cherry-berry fruit aromas add pleasant hints of spice and orange peel. Ripe, tart and softly astringent in the mouth, the flavor is focused on fresh berries, with snappy acidity and an intriguing interplay of something that seems like both spicy white and fragrant black pepper in the finish. It bears a stylistic resemblance to Grenache-based wines of the Southern Rhone in France, but boasts a Spanish accent all its own. US Importer: Jorge Ordoñez; distributed by Cutting Edge Selections of Cincinnati and other regional sources. (Sep 4, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: It would go well with just about any hearty red-meat or poultry dish. The wine's fruit and aromatic spice made it an unusually good match with the robust soy, garlic and anise flavors of the Filipino chicken-and-pork adobo featured in the Wine Advisor FoodLetter on Sept. 3.
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