Honoro Vera: A Calatayud wine that’s far from tame
Spanish wines have enjoyed a string of surprisingly excellent vintages over the past several years. And what is allowing us to appreciate these wines is supported by improved availability of these lovely vintages, rather than trendy winemaker production tricks.
This is true especially when experiencing traditionally produced wines based on the Garnacha grape (aka Grenache when from France). These are now easier to find than ever, making it practical to explore what many Spanish vintners have accomplished with this varietal.
Most of the time, Garnachas are very easy drinking and easily fit into our tastes as being “generally nice”. But new labels have become available that are more edgy, bolder, and should be carefully paired with cuisine to be fully appreciated.
Honoro Vera is produced in one of Calatayud’s hilly areas known for gravelly soils and conditions that bring out the stronger potential of the grape. It’s not often that wines of this robust character are offered for under $10.
What makes this wine so surprising? Its bouquet exhibits dark ripe fruit and fine leather with hints of garden spices. From the bouquet, one would expect this dark colored red wine to be soft and quaffable. Not so, Honoro Vera loads the palate immediately with more leather plus dark fruit mixed with a body that seems grippy at first, but then goes into a lingering white pepper finish. This baby comes to the point quickly!
All of this makes the food pairing, even with steaks, a challenge. But with pasta dishes loaded with thick red sauce and plenty of cheese, it behaves very much like a Super Tuscan. The pepper finish is just right with the red sauce and the bouquet is perfect with the aromas of the dish (especially garlic).
Anyone who samples one of these will come up with a few well-placed comments, guaranteed. It is better served moderately chilled at 55 degrees.