Incredibly consistent quality, wide availability across the Washington area and persistently low prices are the hallmarks of our Top 5 Value Wines. And there’s possibly no more consistently good inexpensive red than Borsao Garnacha, a tremendous bargain at its typical price of $8 to $10 a bottle, on sale now for less than $7 a bottle.
The 2011 vintage of Borsao Garnacha earned 90 points from Wine Advocate, its highest score ever, culminating a remarkable string of excellent scores for 16 vintages spanning 18 years. (Robert Parker’s influential newsletter didn’t review the 2002 or 1997 vintages, though those two years earned “Good” ratings and appealing reviews from Wine Spectator.) Borsao’s string of consistently good wines with sub-$10 price tags dating back to 1993 is truly unprecedented.
“Possibly the single greatest dry red wine value in the world,” Parker calls the 2011 Borsao in the October issue of WA, “this is an unbelievable wine.
“Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic aromas of kirsch liqueur intermixed with raspberries, loamy soil and flowers,” Parker writes. “This medium to full-bodied wine possesses remarkable depth, an expansive texture and wonderful freshness as well as purity. On taste alone, this beauty could easily sell for $30-$50 a bottle.”
“The boysenberry and cherry fruit has a hard-candy character in this rich red, accented with clove and dill,” is how Wine Spectator’s Thomas Matthews describes the 2011 Borsao. “Features light tanins and citrusy acidity.”
This is a flavorful wine that can be sipped on its own but also has the acidic bite to pair well with food. At 14 percent alcohol, it’s got more muscle (upfront fruit) than is typical for European wines, which are generally more restrained than the New World reds of California or Australia. This is the “modern” style of Spanish wine that wine enthusiasts often deride as a sell-out to American tastes. But we think it strikes a nice balance between Old World earthiness and New World exuberance that might appeal to the everyday wine drinker.
The 2011 Borsao is widely available for about $8 a bottle at District wine shops like MacArthur Beverages, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s on Wisconsin Ave. and Morris Miller Wine & Liquors on Alaska Ave., NW, and at Total Wine in both Virginia and Maryland, plus Montgomery County Liquor stores, where it’s just $7.45 a bottle. But it’s on sale for $6.79 at Calvert Woodley and for $6.99 by the case at Paul’s of Chevy Chase this weekend.
This is definitely one to buy by the case. But if you miss out on the sales this weekend, don’t despair. The regular price is still a bargain, and the next vintage that hits the market is likely to be just as good.
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