Friday, September 6, 2013

Washington Garnacha v. La Mancha

The Vuelta a Espana is in full swing with the racers spending a few days in the South of Spain last week.  There has been lots of action in the first week and some early mountain top finishes have encouraged some aggressive racing with the overall race lead changing hands several times.

One of the most intringuing racers has been Chris Horner, the "old man" of the peloton.  Horner is 41 years old and has been on the sidelines for most of the year due to knee issues.  He returned at the Tour of Utah and told everybody that the Vuelta was his goal.  So far, he is backing up his words with action!

This week's Lucha Vino challenge features a Garnacha from Washington taking on an "old man" from La Mancha.

2009 Almquist Family Vintners Garnacha v. 2008 Cien y Pico Garnacha

Tale of the Tape

2009 Almquist Family Vintners Garnacha

Purchased at the winery for $25

2008 Cien y Poco Doble Pasta Garnacha

Garnacha from 100 year old bush vines

Aged for 19 months in 20% new Radoux Barrels

Purchased from Garagiste for $18.92

Round 1. First opening

Almquist is forcing the action with a nose showing menthol and clove spices, candle wax, dark cherries and light cocoa powder.  The palate is sassy and spicy with plenty of dark black cherry, loads of Asian imspired cinnamon and clove spice with some dry cocoa powder and white pepper that linger on to the finish along with some notes of coffee bean.

Cien y Poco is looking for cover. the nose is dark and funky with notes of barnyard, forrest floor and smoky dark fruit.  The palate is quite dry with dark fruit, funky smoke tinged sandalwood and a finish that is dry smoky and slightly funky.

This round was never in doubt with Almquist taking the round and the early lead in our match.

Round 2. One hour after opening

Almquist ia showing no mercy flying off the top rope with an atomic elbow drop and a nose of black cherry, cocoa, orange peel and cigar box spices.  The palate is robust featuring black cherry, cocoa, tart white pepper and cracked pepper spices leading to a finish that is dry and powerful with cocoa powder and coffee bean spices.

The Luchador from La Mancha is bulking up with a nose showing dark fruit, roasted coffee and funky smoke.  The palate features dark cherry and dry smoky sandal wood with a dry finish of light white pepper and a touch of smoke.

La Mancha's attempts to fight back are futile against the bold, sassy and spicy Almquist assault.  Score round 2 for the Luchador from Washington. 

Round 3. One day after opening

Ka-Boom! Almquist lowers the boom with a nose of black cherry, licorice and menthol spice.  The palate is still sassy with black cherry, cola, cocoa and white pepper notes.  The finish is dry and powerful with spices galore: white pepper, menthol, clove combined with cocoa powder for a knock out finish.

Cien y Pico is showing more stamina than a 100 and something year old luchador.  The nose is a bit muted with notes of tar, dark fruit and smoke.  The palate is still showing dark fruit and dry Asian spice with a very dry cherry bark finish.

Almquist is just too powerful, turn out the lights, the party's over.  Down goes Cien y Pico!  Lights out for La Mancha means victory by TKO for Almquist!

Wrap up and overall observations

The Almquist Family Vintners Garnacha was much bolder and spicier than the Cien y Pico from Spain.  Both of these wines were nice with the Almquist Luchador showing bold style that would allow it to stand on its own.  The Cien y Pico is drier and more oriented to being served, and enjoyed, with food.

I would reommend both of these Luchadors for the right battle at the right time...


  1. Best review of a wine I have ever read. Must have more.

    1. Thanks! Check out the latest Slamfest featuring Washington v Washington.