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A rocky road to flavor and value

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Las Rocas Granacha 2011

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When you hear that a vineyard has rocky, nutrient poor soil, the first thought that comes to mind isn't, 'this is an ideal growing region for wine'. Most people might think, 'how on earth can anything grow in rocky crummy soil?' As a matter of fact, a struggling vine makes for a better wine. If you talk to wine growers you'll learn that the more the grape vine has to struggle to survive, the harder it will work to grow -- and in the end you will have better quality grapes. As wine consumers, we benefit from the hard road to survive these grape vines have to go through.

Las Racas Garnacha is from a little town in Spain called Miedes which is abut 55 miles north of Madrid. Las Racas means "the rocks' which is appropriately named due to the vineyards rocky and sloped terroir. Garnacha thrives in these soils, which is why it is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It's one tough grape. That said, it is often used in blends. Las Racas Garnacha is a wonderful example of Spanish Garnacha (also known as Grenache). This particular wine had a lovely ruby red color with cherry and blackberry on the nose. The first sip is filled with berry and a touch of oak followed by some cherry and a tad note of licorice on the finish. Not at all high in tannins, this wine is smooth and velvety and most certainly fruit forward. This is a grape most wine drinkers have had, but probably not been aware of when in a blended red. Known for being blended with Tempranillo and in France, Syrah and the most well known grape variety in the Chateauneuf du Pape region.

A wonderfully smooth Spanish red that tastes much more expensive than it actually is. Harris Teeter on Glebe Road in Arlington has it listed for $12.99. Total Wine & More $9.99. For under $15 you're getting a Spanish red that is rich with history, flavor and fight!

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