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Why do these vines suffer?

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Las Rocas garnacha flourishes in one of the most unforgiving, arid places on the planet.

“It’s hard to imagine that wine grapes can grow from rocks; not just any rocks,” said Bodega San Alejandro managing director Yolanda Diaz. “These rocks rest at nearly 3,500 feet in a hot, dry desolate place. But, this Calatayud area of Spain defines everything we know about viticulture. These steep, rocky slopes here breathe life into the vines that make unforgettable wines.”The Bodegas San Alejandro growers’ cooperative cultivates grapes from hundreds of small vineyards in the region – many with vines more then 80 years old – to create the rich, robust flavors of Las Rocas.

Garnacha (known as Grenache in other areas) is the second most planted grape in the world, It thrives in hot climates. It has a rustic quality and brings huge character to a blend.

Las Rocas 2011 selection ($14) has bright aromas and flavors of juicy, dark cherry and blackberry. A spicy, hearty wine, it shows seductive shades of oak and round tannins that result in a well-structured, jammy drinkable wine.

Pour this with grilled lamb chops, dried meats, barbecued ribs, steaks and stews. Or with a salty, smoked fish.

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