This La Paca Garnacha review is part of our value wine series. Learn about great wines that are both accessible and affordable. The La Paca Garnacha is available at your local Trader Joe’s for around 7 bucks.
La Paca Garnacha Review from Calatayud, Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain
Sooo… I recently passed through Zaragoza on a recent trip to Spain to explore Rioja. I’m sad to say that apparently I passed by this value gem in the Calatayud DO. Luckily, Trader Joe’s sits no more than 10 minutes from my home base in South Florida. Wheh.
I picked up the La Paca Garnacha one evening after work because I wasn’t looking to spend a lot and I have an affinity for Spanish wine. Garnacha, in general, is typically quite alcoholic, mildly tannic and loaded with bright red fruit, peppercorn and refreshing acid. In short, it’s an easy drinker that isn’t boring and doesn’t need to be paired with anything (though it’s totally acceptable to do so).
On this particular evening, I struck gold, because I soon came to discover that I could buy a case of this stuff and barely spend $80. But it’s not just the price point that’s great about the La Paca, the wine itself offers a decent complexity given the price point.
The Calatayud DO lies west of Zaragoza, about 3 and 1/2 hours away from Barcelona in the Northeast region of Spain. This area is somewhat arid and maintains a traditionally Mediterranean climate. The soil composition around here is calcareous and loaded with loose, gravelly rock. As are much of the surrounding DOs. This style of soil is poor in nutriment, which forces Garnacha vines to work and dig deep for their survival. Making it even more difficult for the grapes, La Paca vines grow on hillsides. This forces precipitation to mainly play the role of runoff while the remainder trickles through the loose soil beneath the roots. The result is highly concentrated red and blue fruit with big hints of limestone minerals and acidity.
Serving and Aging the La Paca Garnacha
Given the brightness evident in most Garnacha’s from this region, I like it on the cooler side. It mutes the flavor enough to round it off. Chill to around 61 degrees farenheit, or about 20 minutes in your fridge. The youth of this vintage also calls for a little bit or aeration. Let it breathe for about 15 minutes in a decanter. Traditionally, Garnacha (Grenache) is consumed within the first few years following vinification. However, Garnacha has some surprising potential as an aged red wine as well. While some Vintners would argue a varietal version could go in excess of a decade in the right storing conditions, I’ve found that Garnacha maintains its best characteristics within 5 years of bottling.
La Paca Garnacha Tasting Notes
In the glass, this wine is somewhat translucent with a ruby red core and violet, almost magenta borders (indicating its youth). The nose is vibrant and filled with hints of cacao, ripe red cherry hibiscus and thyme.
Light to medium-bodied in weight, the opening palate is refreshingly acidic backed with firm tones of cracked pepper, cherry and red currant. The mid-palate incorporates more notes of overripe plum and cassis with pieces of tumbleweed and dry underbrush. Mineralistic limestone tones make themselves known towards the close as (surprisingly), grapefruit, cinnamon and more bright red cherry sits over a medium finish.
Food Pairing the La Paca Garnacha
Think lighter red meats and game with this unit. Venison, top sirloin or skirt steak are ideal here. Conversely, avoid the meat and mess around with grilled, marinated turkey cutlets. Rosemary, paprika, cumin and or oregano are all great spice options to include in your concoction.
Given the youth of this wine, you can get away with tomato based spicy pasta, chicken or ground beef dishes as well. Checkout this Pasta with Parsley, Basil, Oregano, Paprika and Red Wine Meat Sauce recipe.