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A Crazy Value Red Wine and a Really Good Brunello

Time for a quick blog about a couple of wines we opened after returning from Kennebunkport.  One is a screaming buy, one of the best values I’ve ever come across in red wine.  The other is a classic Brunello di Montalcino from an excellent vintage.  Far apart on price, not as far apart on quality.  And I’m not saying the Brunello isn’t worth it.

Garnacha on left, Brunello on right.


First – the bargain.  I can sum it up for you nicely: BUY THIS!

2011 Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines – 100% Garnacha (or grenache if you prefer) and a  devastating value.  This is bright purple red, it’s got a kind of glow to it when the light hits it.  It looks inviting.  Really good fruit on the nose and immediately on the palate.  Mouth coating.  Enough tannins to give it some depth.  Very long finish.  Good body, but not really quite full bodied.  The depth of flavor is great here though.  This drinks like a $20-30 wine, easily.  You can serve this at any level.  Robert Parker gave it 92 points, saying it “boasts a dark ruby/purple color along with a sweet kiss of jammy black cherries intertwined with crushed rock notes that give the wine an undeniable minerality. As it hits the palate, a full-bodied, voluptuous texture takes hold and the flavor profile moves towards blacker fruits (ripe raspberries and black currants) intermixed with camphor and forest floor. This full-bodied, rich, glycerin-filled effort should drink well for 4-5 years, perhaps longer.

I’m not sure about 92 points, partly because I’m not ever sure if something is 92, instead of 91 or 93 or 89 for that matter.  I’m also not sure this is full bodied, although it’s very close.  When you swirl the glass and watch the fingers come down it doesn’t look like it’s overloaded with glycerol,although it has some good “legs” to it.  I absolutely agree with everything else he said.  This is a seriously good wine.  At 14.5% alcohol it is a big wine, but it is smooth and delicious.

Price – sit down first.  I’ve seen two deals online for this wine at $6.99 and $6.98 a bottle.  If you can have wine shipped to you where you live one of these had $1 per bottle shipping as well.  THIS IS CRAZY GOOD FOR THE MONEY.  Buy some.  Try and find it locally. Buy a case.  We did and I’m buying another one.

Second – the classic Brunello.  2004 (excellent vintage!) San Filippo Le Lucere Brunello di Montalcino.  Basically take everything I said above and supersize it, add in really full bodied and lots of glycerin and that’s pretty close.  This is a classic wine.  It received 96 points from the Wine Spectator and I’m not arguing.  It’s just really, really good.  I have found that good Brunello needs 8-10 years to really get to where it’s near its peak.  This is 8 years old and has a lot of life left.  It will probably get better.  Can’t wait.

It’s not cheap.  Wine-Searcher has it from $45 to $70 a bottle.  I paid about $40 a few years back upon release and put some down in the cellar (along with four or five others from the 2004 vintage).  For a special occasion wine this fits our budget and is well worth it.  We can’t drink it every day though.

We can drink the Garnacha every day, and probably will for a while.  I really suggest you give it a try.  Let me know if you like it.

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