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Bodegas Tintoralba ‘Higueruela’ 2005

December 3, 2008

~$9US, Mostly Garnacha, Almansa, Spain

This is one of those wines I had to take a chance with: Nothing on the label was familiar whatsoever, no varietal, an unknown DO,  a few curious and almost unpronounceable words, and RED SPANISH WINE in all caps.  At 8 or 9 bucks and the shop’s recommendation (with the headline “Sweet Tarts”), I gave it a try.

I’ll start by saying that this is just an unusual wine, and I love it’s honesty. The nose offers lots of stoney minerality, dried cherries, some blackberry and sun-dried tomatoes.  Surprising complexity at this price and absolutely free from obliteration via  the oak monster. On the palate there is just a searing beam of brightness and acidity, which contains the fresh bing cherry fruits, that does not let up. The finish is telling of solid winemaking and vitaculture – long and slowly tapering chalky and floral notes, and indeed, Sweet Tarts.

This acidity here almost pushes the limits of pleasurability, but when paired with fattier foods like charcuterie, cheeses, etc – it comes off like an elegant Southern Rhone with the palate of a fine Barbera d’Asti or a lean Cru Beaujolais. In a perfect world, this could use a touch more fattness in the midpalate, but I can’t complain – the overall purity and drive of this wine is rarely matched at 2-3x the asking price.

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