Bodegas Virgen del Agulia-Paniza, Cariñena (Spain) Garnacha Vina Vejas de Paniza 2012

($14, Vinaio Imports): It’s curious — and perhaps confusing — that the primary grape of the Cariñena region is Garnacha and not Cariñena (a.k.a., Carignan in French and Carignano in Italian, and generally spelled “Carignane” in the U.S.A.).  That said, there’s nothing confusing about this wine — it’s terrific.  The old vines (vina vejas) must account for the wine’s complexity — a seamless combination of ripe fruitiness and spice.  The paradoxically subtle but persistent wild strawberry-like character of Garnacha is apparent without being sweet.  Suave tannins provide appropriate structure without intruding on the wine’s finesse.  This is a wonderful wine for hearty fare this winter.
91 Michael Apstein Dec 6, 2016