Exploring Aragon via Plate and Glass #WorldWineTravel

World Wine Travel Virtual Visit to Aragon
This month, our World Wine Travel bloggers dig into one of the less famous wine regions in Spain – Aragon. My WSET Diploma text for still wines of the world has 600 pages, and a little over 1 page is dedicated to Aragon. Know what? Sometimes lesser known regions are full of delicious wines at delicious prices. Let’s go have a look! Scroll down further in this post to see what my fellow World Wine Travelers have found.

Look for Aragon in the Northeast. Map courtesy of Foods and Wines from Spain https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/

The Aragon Region of Spain
The Aragon region of Spain is located in the northeast part of the country, inland from Catalunya. It has 4 wine Denomination of Origin (DO) wine regions. Cariñena, Campo de Borja, and Calatayud are all located in the western part of the region with similar climates: warm continental at altitudes ranging from 350-900m. The altitude brings cooling at night to ensure grapes retain acidity as they ripen. The regions are dry, so vines are grown at low density and trained as bush vines. Individual growers only farm a hectare or two and most wine is produced by coop. Garnacha (Grenache) is very well suited to the region in that it needs lots of heat and a long season to ripen and it is very drought tolerant. The 4th region is Somontano, located close to Catalunya and closer in climate and style to wines produced there.

Bodegas Borsao Monto Oton
Originally formed in 1958, Bodegas Borsao today encompasses 375 growers all focused on producing high quality wines from this region. While they do produce other wines, Garnacha Tinta is their flagship grape and is the majority of their production.

Monte Odon Camp de Borja DO Garnacha 2019 ($11 locally or online here) 14.5%abv
Eye: medium purple
Nose: Medium plus aromas of ripe strawberry, cherry, raspberry. Ripe, even candied. A hint of rosemary and clean earth.
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, medium minus silky tannins, full body, high alcohol, medium plus flavor intensity and a medium finish. Flavors echo the aromas.
Observations: Full bodied, bright and fruity, this wine seems intended for immediate enjoyment.

Bodegas San Alejandro and Las Rocas
Bodegas San Alejandro was formed in 1962 as a cooperative of 350 growers in the Calatayud wine region within Aragon. Their Las Rocas brand emphasizes modern winemaking techniques, with an extended cold soak prior to fermentation and partial aging in French and American oak.

Las Rocas Calatayud DO Garnacha 2017 ($13 locally or online here) 14.5% abv
Eye: medium ruby
Nose: medium plus intensity, ripe but restrained red fruit. Ripe strawberries, red and black cherries, red plums, oregano, sage, and cedar. The nose shows the alcohol as a bit hot.
Mouth: Dry, medium acidity, medium minus chalky tannins, full body, high alcohol, medium plus flavor intensity, medium plus finish. Flavors echo the aromas and carry more complexity and texture given the partial oak aging.
Observations: A very enjoyable wine for $13, this would gain interest over the next few years. Not for long term aging, but will improve with short term aging.

Other World Wine Travel Group Posts
Take a look below at the discoveries of my fellow World Wine Travel bloggers as they researched and tasted wines from Aragon. Why not join our conversation on twitter? Simply search for the #WorldWineTravel hashtag Saturday morning, May 22 from 10-11 am CDT. We’d love to hear what you think!

José Andrés has been my Spanish cooking advisor

Spanish Cooking with José Andrés
Throughout our virtual tour of Spain, I have been relying on José Andrés as my Spanish cooking reference. One thing I have learned? Olive oil; lots and lots of olive oil.

Delicious peas and romesco with a fruit forward Garnacha Tinta from Bodegas Borsao

Guisantes Tiernos al Romesco – Spring Green Peas with Romesco Sauce and Mint
I hate shelling pea pods. I enjoy whole peapods more than peas, so I hate all the work and then all those pods just go to waste… However, fresh peas are Julie’s favorite and she puts up with a lot of crazy foods I cook. I figure I can shell a few peapods every spring. Anyway, these peas were delicous served on a bed of roasted romesco sauce, cooked on the grill. The fruity Monte Oton was very nice with the earthy peas and roasted veggies hidden in the romesco.

Lamb Chops with herb roasted potatoes, perfect with this Las Rocas Garnacha Tinta

Cordera Asado con Patatas – Roasted Lamb Chops with Potatoes
José says this is a classic Aragón dish, as there are many “roasting restaurants” in the region. This sounds like my kind of place! Bring on the fire. The potatoes are sliced thinly, then mixed with garlic, pearl onions, thyme and rosemary. Roast ’em hot on the grill and finally sear the lamb chops. The Las Rocas wine was perfect with the dish, the fruit was more restrained with herbs and just a bit of oak influence. Yum!

Comments
19 Responses to “Exploring Aragon via Plate and Glass #WorldWineTravel”
  1. terristeffes says:

    The wines sound delicious and we, too, we able to score a really good wine at a fantastic price. The food pairing sounds wonderful as always, too!

  2. robincgc says:

    Such great price points! I only found wines from Calatayud and am looking forward to exploring the wines of the other regions.
    Your pairings look delicious, especially the spring peas on romesco sauce and mint! (so Julie got peas and you got lamb right?)

  3. Garnacha is Gigi’s favorite grape variety! I have a vague recollection of a wine called “Las Rocas”, but it had a different label (it was probably 5+ years ago) Your dish sounds great!

  4. wendyklik says:

    I’m going to have to look for that cookbook at my library and check it out to see if I want to purchase it. I found that these wines were a terrific value.

  5. I can almost taste the lamb with these Garnacha wines. I’d probably like the partial oak aging on the Las Rocas wine.

  6. I’m fond of lamb with garnacha too, and that book looks like a real winner! As usual, your photos are gorgeous.

  7. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    I’m such a fan of José Andres and also take a lot of inspiration from his books! These dishes looked like they turned out to be extremely delicious. I’ve had the Monte Odon , but will have to revisit, and the Las Rocas also sounds like a good value.

  8. Lynn says:

    Another José Andres fan- I almost made the pea and romesco dish! Before our first Spain adventure we watched his entire Made in Spain series. Betting you’ve seen it? He’s amazing from Ted Talks to feeding the many. These wines… the prices are amazing too.

    • Thanks Lynn. No, I haven’t seen his series but I will look. He is truly an amazing human being. Roasting the veggies prior to making the romesco was well worth the extra effort!

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