Let the sunshine flow! From the land of Zaragoza, hails a wine that wowed Robert Parker as he called it “Possibly the single greatest dry red wine value in the world, this is an unbelievable wine”.
Which bottle was he speaking of? And of which wineyard does it hail from? That’s something that you’ll have to read on to find out.
The first reveal I’m going to give you is this : The winery we’re speaking of today is the Bodegas Borsao, situated in Borja, in the Northwest of the province of Zaragoza, considered to be a sub-unit with its own characteristics within the region of Moncayo, in the occidental sector of the province. Bodegas Borsao, has been the origin and engine of the D.O. “Campo de Borja”, in Aragón, north-eastern Spain or the well known “Empire of Garnacha”.
As with many interesting wines, they usually come along with an equally fascinating back story – and the story of winemaking in Zaragoza traces back to its origins somewhere (unofficially) around 1203 where they found written records about winemaking in the region in the Monastery of Veruela. The monks then had an essential role in the development of vinegrowing and winemaking in the region.
Later in the 19th century, private wineries in the foothills surrounding Verula began to emerge and economic difficulties in the 1950s pushed the small producers to combine forces and from there – six co-operatives emerged. This formed the base of most of the D.O [Spanish wines have a classification system based on the “Denominación de Origen” (DO, designation of origin), which determines where the wine was produced.]
So back in 1958, the Cooperative of Borja was founded and this is where Borsao had its beginnings as a brand. And in 2001, the co-operatives of Pozuelo and Tabuenca joined Borja – adding their resources and most importantly, their vineyards to the mix and the company was called Bodegas Borsao, established as a limited company.
Interesting note : There are 375 winegrowers pooling their resources and from their effort, we get the bounty of the Bodegas Borsao. There are even 3 wine cellars within the co-operation today.
More interesting note : The oldest vineyards of the D.O. date back to 1145 and more than 2,000 of the 5,000 hectares of Garnacha are between 30 and 50 years old. The production is not high, but wine wise it is held in high esteem, due to the structural and aromatic complexity they give to the wines.
This diversity of microclimates and soils enriches the nuances of the impressive “Garnacha” vine-growing assets of our land enables it to be known as CAMPO DE BORJA, THE EMPIRE OF GARNACHA.
Borsaois the benchmark for premium Spanish Garnacha. They have been one of the greatest preservers of this variety believe that it is specially suited to the region. Garnacha is living a huge revival world-wide thanks to its fruit-driven character, soft tannins and pleasant mouthfeel, that make it perfect to match a great variety of meals.
The Hillsides of the Moncayo shelter the vineyards located between 350 and 800 metres of altitude, regulating cold, heat and moderating the effects of the North-west Cierzo, which is responsible for the characteristic wild fruit aromas (Silvestres).
Generally speaking, the region has a solid continental climate, with a winter Atlantic influence –whose most important characteristic is the North-West “Cierzo” wind- and a summer Mediterranean influence. Low rainfall, at an average of 350 – 450 mm.
Extreme temperatures and very sharp day and seasonal thermal contrasts help to retain acids and fix colour and tannin.
The dominant soils in the planting area are red clayed, chalky and stony, with good drainage and medium levels of organic matter, as well as some very different soils:
- Tabuenca, red clay mixed with red-slates at an altitude of 750 m.
- Borja very sandy soils with rolling stones at an altitude of 450 m
- Pozuelo, limy soils mixed with gravels at an altitude of 350 m.
Winemaking at Borsao aims to preserve all the characteristics of the grapes coming from their vineyards. The focus of work is to preserve the intense fruit characters, body and roundness of Garnacha at all price points and quality levels:
- Harvest is carried out manually in key vineyards, the ones from which de Selección Range is crafted.
- Fruit is harvested and transported in 20-kg cases for the Selección wines range.
- The winery uses a significant 1 million frigories cooling capacity to preserve the characteristics of the fruit.
- Oak is used moderately to tame and add complexity to the wines, rather than impose its presence on the wines. The use of oak is adapted to the final style of the wine: different origins, both new and used wood and different sizes help round up the expression of the wines.
This cumulation of factors are those that lead to Robert Parker calling “My favourite value winery not only in Spain, but in the world”. And its not only Robert Parker singing its praises – the list of critics fallen in love with it include Thomas Matthews, José Luis Solanilla, Jancis Robinson, David Williams and Carlos Delgado just to name a few.
Oh and as for that single greatest dry red wine value in the world? BORSAO TINTO SELECCION 2011. A 90 pointer by Robert Parker. You’ve gotta try it.