El Chaparral tops Grenache tasting

El Chaparral wine takes the top spot at the Vintage blind tasting

This was a very enjoyable wine tasting of six Grenache wines. The Grenache grape is very hot lately, trendy these days among esteemed wine writers and journalists. Its popularity is rising because Grenache is a food-friendly wine, moderate in style with nice acidity and wonderful fruit flavors, and because most are priced reasonably. There are many good Grenache wines coming from the Rhone Valley and from Spain (Garnacha). Many California wineries, especially in the Santa Barbara area and the Sierra Foothills, are producing tasty Grenache wines. Overall, the California wines are a bit more expensive, usually above the $25 price range.

These are the six wines we tasted and they are listed in their rank order.

  • Bodegas Nekeas “El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa” Old Vines Garnacha Navarra 2010 K&L Wines – $13
  • Bonny Doon “Clos de Gilroy” 2012 The Wine Club – $14
  • La Bastide Saint Vincent 2010 The Wine Club – $14
  • Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas 750ML 2009 The Wine Club – $15
  • Jimenez-Landi Pielago Garnacha Mentrida K&L Wines – $30
  • Sella e Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva K&L Wines – $15

el-chaparralThe El Chaparral was on my list of the Top Red Wines of 2012 and we are happy to see that it is still available at K&L Wines for a terrific price of $12.99. The El Chaparral is from the Navarra region of Spain, where the Garnacha grape is grown extensively. Just to the west of Navarra is the Rioja region where Tempranillo is king. A very close second was a California wine from Bonny Doon, which is another great value from the lineup of Bonny Doon wines produced by Randall Graham.

My top pick was the Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas. This is not to be confused with the Las Rocas Calatayud, which is a lower-priced Garnacha sold widely in supermarket wine departments. I found the Las Rocas Garnacha Vinas Viejas to be a solid wine from start to finish. I loved the way the flavors lingered in my mouth. I will certainly stock my wine cellar with a few bottles of this delicious wine.

For our next tasting, it will be my turn to host the Vintage Wine Tasters. We will be tasting dry Rosé wines. These wines are great summer-drinking wines and I am anxious to start my hunt for six outstanding Rosé wines in the $10 to $20 range.

Did you vote yet?


  1. ,Just tasted the Domaine Ott from Provence who only produce Rose and it was quite good. I have never tasted a Pinot Noir Rose that had enough aroma or body to merit interest let alone a high score. I love Rose made from wines with rich color and flavor such as: Malbec, Syrah, Zin, Cab, Temperanillo and other vibrant reds with lots of color and fruit. Also if it is known are they Saginee or only made from fruit that only will make a rose. In the end I think it will boil down to personal preference with which wines show the most flavors within the rose style. Perfect time of the year to taste these wines.

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