A fable of Aesop offers that “there was once a lizard who burst into pieces right down the middle when he was trying to equal the length of a snake”. Translation: You will hurt yourself and accomplish nothing if you try to imitate someone who is far better than you are. This could be the motto for the 2008 Gardacho Garnacha Vieja that Music of the Vine has selected as this week’s Wine of the Week. First of all, it doesn’t attempt to be more than it is. Secondly, a Gardacho is a lizard that is indigenous to the Basque country of Spain. This is where the Navarra, DOC lies and where our featured wine originates.

You may be asking yourself what lizards have to do with this wine. Let’s just say that this Spanish Garnacha Vieja (Old Vine Grenache) is as dry as a lizard’s skin! While we are sure that the original lizard artwork that adorns the bottle (done by winemaker José Manuel Echeverria) is meant to pay tribute to the folklore of their native reptile, we are sticking with our assessment. This is the most wild and dry Grenache any of us has every tasted. It is composed of 100% Garnacha from 60-80 year old vines. The color is a rich purple with violet edges. The nose is full of black cherry and wild berries with hints of leather, cedar and tobacco. In the mouth is where this gets interesting. While black cherry and plum fruit dominate the flavor profile, subtle flavors of briary blackberry, leather, tobacco and oak broaden the interest. The tannins are big in this interesting wine, but they are not out of control. As a matter of fact, we think that is takes some skill to craft a wine with tannins this big but keeps them under control.

If you like structured, big, bold, dry red wines, then this is the wine for you. It won’t necessarily be a wine that you will open and enjoy as an aperitif. No, this is a food wine all the way! Think barbequed hamburgers, barbequed chicken, pizza, chili, seafood, shellfish...well, you get the picture. One final highlight of the 2008 Gardacho Garnacha Vieja is that is extremely affordable!

Pick up your bottle today. Music of the Vine encourages responsible enjoyment of wine and please never drink and drive. Cheers!

- Music of the Vine is located at 2805 Blaine St. (in the Willows complex across from Dennis Dillon). Call 454-1228 or visit from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and noon-11 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Online: www.musicofthevine.com. Any wine tips, reviews, etc. that you would like to share? E-mail 3g@idahopress.com.

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