From the East Coast to the West: the “Tres Picos” Garnacha from Borsao

4 Mar

I am at home, taking a much-needed break from law school.  First semester was a breeze compared to the marathon of mock trial, briefs, classes, and journal competition!

Having lived in DC now since August, I feel like I have a sense of the city.  True, I haven’t really explored too much, but enough to realize a few things.  First, DC is a nice city–to visit.  Second, there are nice restaurants–in the $$$ range.  Third, there are some good cafes–if you’re willing to take the Metro and walk a while.  Fourth, there ARE some good wine shops, though the District of Columbia isn’t exactly the Bay Area.  I am pretty certain that I will be returning to California after law school.

I really do like certain aspects of DC.  I do like the cold weather, for instance, and the snow (although it can be a real pain when you’re trying to walk in slush and frozen ice).  I do like that you can generally get around using public transportation (traffic today in LA brought back some bad memories).  But, after all of this, and despite LA’s problems, LA is still home to me.

The temperature in DC when I left for Dulles was around 20 degrees; when I got to LA the temperature was 59 degrees.  It rained today in LA, a lot in the morning but tapering off in the early afternoon.  It was actually so nice during this respite from the rain that my parents and I decided to stop by the Farmer’s Market on 3rd and Fairfax.  Bob’s Donuts and coffee, a beef shawerma wrap from Moishe’s for me and fish ‘n’ chips and clam chowder for the ‘rents.  Awesome–relaxing and delicious.

Afterwards, I went to Mission Wines to say hello.  And left with six bottles of wine:

  • 2007 Francois Chidaine | Touraine, Loire Valley, France | sauvignon blanc | $11.99
  • 2007 Pascal Bellier | Cour-Cheverny, France | romorantin | $14.99
  • 2007 Borsao “Tres Picos” | Campo de Borja, Spain | garnacha | $14.99 ($16.99 – $18.99 regular)
  • 2007 Domaine les Grands Bois “Cuvee Maximilien | Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone villages, France | blend | $19.99
  • 2005 Domaine de Piaugier “Sablet” | Cotes du Rhone villages, France | blend | $15.99
  • 2007 Atalaya | Almansa, Spain | prim. monastrell, garnacha tintorera | $14.99

Though LA and DC are pretty dissimilar, I was still able to find one of my favorite “DC” wines at Mission Wines: “Tres Picos” from Borsao ($14.99 on sale, $16.99 regular price as compared to $18.99 in many DC locations).  This is 100% garnacha, grown from the Campo de Borja D.O.  Trey from The Wine Specialist recommended it to me and I am certainly glad he did: a powerful, expressive garnacha redolent with dark berries and leather.  I wasn’t really a fan of garnacha/grenache in general because I felt it made too much of a light and inconsequential wine, but man–Tres Picos knocked my socks off and those of the friends who tasted it.

tres-picosThis is my third bottle of Tres Picos–absolutely terrific and well worth the price.  It went really well with roquefort, in case you wanted to have it for a wine tasting.

The Francois Chidaine is hands-down my favorite sauvignon blanc–a must-have, especially for the upcoming spring and a steal at $11.99.  The Cour-Cheverny is also a white wine: the sales associate at Mission Wines raved about it and gave me a pour.  It had a nose like a big unoaked California chardonnay–tropical fruits–but was significantly dry and minerally, with a bit of pepper like a grüner veltliner.  I felt compelled to buy it.

Another wine I feel compelled to write about is one I had in DC: the 2005 Vacqueyras from Domaine La Roubine, a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.  Vacqueyras is a lesser-known appellation in the southern Rhone–sort of a third fiddle to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.  This means, however, that wines from Vacqueyras are available for good prices (the Domaine La Roubine was $25.99).  I had earmarked the bottle to drink with a nice hanger steak I had purchased from Eastern Market.  I meant to cook the steak on Monday right after the journal competition but couldn’t wait that long to try the wine–I opened it and had a little bit late Sunday evening.  Really good, prunes and “stewed cherries” on the nose, pronounced tannins but lighter bodied than I thought it would be, more of an earthy-minerally character to it than fruity.  It was even better the next day with the steak.

Altogether, I’m pretty happy with the wines I’ve been able to try in DC and am looking forward to trying some more in LA.  Mind you–the six bottles aren’t all for me: ostensibly, I bought them for my mom who always tells me how neither my brother nor sister will buy her any wine!

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