It's often said that dry, rocky terrain contributes to the best grapes, full of concentrated, ultra-jammy flavors. Such is the case for the 2009 Las Rocas Garnacha ($15), which stems from Aragon, the northeastern region of Spain. Garnacha, although not familiar to many US wine drinkers, is one of the most commonly planted red grapes in the world, because it has the ability to withstand intense heat, is easily fermentable, and its signature flavor is widely liked.
On the nose, Garnacha has a sweet and sour quality like blackberries or cranberries. The extremely warm and dry weather conditions contribute to the wine's slightly higher alcohol level, which is certainly felt upon first sip. The wine is most notable for its tart, peppery, and spicy flavors that seem to linger after swallowing. As the wine trails down, it warms the chest, and an instant-gratification buzz takes effect. Spanish cuisine is often fatty and rich, and this wine would help cut through the grease. Cheese like Manchego or tapas including chorizo, croquetas, or patatas bravas would work well with this dry yet crisp Spanish wine.