Scientific studies into the origin of Garnacha indicate that it most likely originated in Aragon, the ancient Spanish kingdom situated […]Keep Reading
Scientific studies into the origin of Garnacha indicate that it most likely originated in Aragon, the ancient Spanish kingdom situated between Catalunya to the east and Castilla to the west. From there it spread throughout the rest of Spain and up along the Mediterranean coast. Heat loving and drought tolerant it is perfectly adapted to generous climate of the Mediterranean only giving way to the even more heat-loving Monastrell as you move south into Valencia and Murcia. It can make for gregarious or serious drinking depending on where it is grown, the age of the vines and when it is picked. It is capable of making pale, vibrant and thrilling wines like those from the Sierra de Gredos, dense wines with rich flavors like in the Priorat and everyday pleasurable wines such as those that come from its place of birth – Calatayud, Carineña and Campo de Borja.
Calatayud is a fairly innocuous and rural region of Spain. As far as the eye can see the hills and plains are blanketed by a patchwork of head-pruned Garnacha vineyards, olive and cherry orchards and fields of grain. Just to the north of Calatayud is Campo de Borja, Navarra and Rioja Baja, so this sea of Garnacha is a small part of a wider ocean. Much of the inexpensive and pleasurable Garnacha sold in the US comes from these regions in Spain and Eric Solomon was an early pioneer and proponent.
Years ago while working on a project in Calatayud, Eric Solomon met Jean-Marc Lafage and Yolanda Diaz. Yolanda is a native of the region and knows the terruño of Calatayud better than anyone. Jean-Marc is the very talented Catalan winemaker and consultant from the Roussillon in France. Together they “discovered” a unique place within Calatayud, a high and arid plateau between the villages of Acered and Atea and bordering the Sierra de Santa Cruz. At 1000 meters above sea level this is the highest part of the DO of Calatayud. Even more interesting is that the soil here is pure schist, the same soil one can find in the Priorat and in Maury where Jean-Marc was born and where he runs a small estate, Château Saint-Roch. This unique terroir and the old vines of Garnacha rooted in it, are the origins of Evodia.