Home Varietals Grenache Tapeña Garnacha – Seeing Red for the First Time

There is a thing that wine bloggers do each month called Wine Blogging Wednesday and today is the 67th time this event has occurred.  It’s a day when numerous wine bloggers from around the world all write about the same thing.  There is always a “host” for Wine Blogging Wednesday who picks the theme and afterward writes a roundup of all the contributions.  The host for today is Joe Roberts from 1winedude.com and the theme is “Seeing Red for the First Time.”  The idea of this theme is to write about what wine you would recommend to someone who only drinks white wines, but would like to try a red.

I actually didn’t have to think long on this theme, because I’ve been in that exact situation.  I met a couple at a party a few months ago and, of course, we got into a discussion about wine.  When they found out about what I do, they asked me for a similar recommendation.  The guy in that couple preferred white wine but wanted to find some reds that he would like too, so he asked me where to start.  It wasn’t really “red for the first time” but it was someone trying to find a red wine that would appeal to someone with a preference for white wines.

I actually didn’t have an answer right off the top of my head, I had to probe a little.  “Why don’t you like red wine?” I asked.

“It’s too dry.  It makes my tongue feel like cotton.” was his response.  Aha!  It’s the tannins that don’t appeal to him, I thought.  I didn’t want to send him to a sweet red wine, as part of the goal was to find a wine that they both would enjoy (and she was a red wine fan).  But I did want to find a young, fruit-forward wine without a lot of tannins.  And I knew they wanted something inexpensive.  Cheap Garnacha (or Grenache) from Spain is my answer!

Garnacha is an interesting wine that can actually take on a variety of characteristics, depending on the appellation and the winemaker.  Sometimes it can be rather bold and spicy (which I really like), but the cheap stuff tends to be simple, fruit-forward and tasty.

So in order to pitch in to Wine Blogging Wednesday, AND do a review (like we normally do here) I looked through my wine samples for some Garnacha.  There was only one bottle of Garnacha there, and so that’s my pick for today, Tapeña.  Due to the fact that I only had one—and I knew what it was—this wine was not tasted blind.

Unlike many Spanish wine, Tapeña does not come from a DO-certified appellation, but is from several appellations outside the DO system.  One thing this does for the wine is keep the price cheap… but it’s still a yummy wine.

The nose is really vibrant, with loads of fresh fruit aromas like cherry, strawberry and raspberry.  There’s also a fabulous vanilla fragrance that brightens the aromas and makes this wine more interesting.  The palate has plenty of ripe fruit without being an overly sweet fruit bomb.  Cherry, blackberry and strawberry flavors do a tango with your taste buds, and a touch of spice gives it a fun finish.  The bottom line is that I like this wine.

Wine: Tapeña Garnacha
Variety: Grenache
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 88
Price: $10.00

Find Tapeña Garnacha with Snooth

Disclosure: This wine was received as a sample.

9 replies to this post
  1. This is an interesting recommendation for a white wine drinker wanting to switch over to red. I agree, I prefer the bold, spicy, full-throttle Grenaches and frankly would have never thought to recommend one of the more fruit forward styles.

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. Another ‘Cheapo’ Garnacha:

    Rojo (granrojo) 2008 @ Costco: $6.69

    Imported by Quintessential imports.

    Bodegas Navarro Lopez

  3. Thank you for reviewing a spanish red!. Spanish reds seem to provide excellent value for the price!

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Spanish Godellos and Albarinos—I recently tried these rather obscure Spanish whites and was completely blown away!

  4. Thank you for the comments.

    Blake – I haven’t come across many Godellos lately, but I am a fan of Albariño. I know I have a couple lined up for upcoming reviews too, so… stay tuned.

  5. really enjoy the Tapena…..can you suggest three red wines that you think are comparable and similarly priced?

    Thanks PLP in VA

  6. I sure can.

    Garnacha del Fuego is pretty good, with lively fruit flavors and nice complexity. Las Rocas is another good choice, which is similar.

    And if you’re willing to spend a couple bucks more try Tres Picos from Borsao. It still has a lot of that fruit, but it has a little more spice to it, which I think makes it more interesting.

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