A while back I was at a local bar whining about the poor selection of wines under $12 at the liquor store closest to my home. They carry several wines that I usually drink that sell elsewhere for $12 or under, but the prices at this store are a good $4-5 more a bottle than several others in the area.

Someone in the group told me to look there for a bottle of Garnacha de Fuego and that the bottle would have a picture of fire on it. I put it in my notes on my phone and forgot about it, until this week. I came across the note and decided to hunt it down in the store.

I was not steered wrongly. Not only is this bottle under $12 at the overpriced store; it’s $8.99. I’m not going to say anything to the store’s owners, but I’d pay more for it. I will gladly make this my weekend wine pick.

Garnacha is the Spanish word for Grenache, a grape that thrives in hot and dry conditions. The old vines that the grapes for this wine are grown high on a hillside in a region that gets little rain, yet the vines aren’t watered. Instead, the roots of the vines must work hard to search for water deep down, and the struggling plant produces bold, ripe grapes. This method is common with old vines that have had decades to grow their roots deep into the earth.

Because little or no water is consumed in growing the Garnacha in this wine, I’m willing to call this a wine that’s grown in a sustainable manner. There isn’t much more information about the way this wine is grown that I could discover.

In this bottle of the 2013 vintage, that translates into a strong, lovely dry wine that hit me with cherries on first whiff (and for a second my mind said Cherry Coke, which I’ve never gotten from a wine before) and then some chocolate, vanilla and pepper – all of which came through when I tasted it. I took a sip poured straight from the bottle, and then I decanted a little. This wine definitely benefitted from the simple method of decanting.

I really liked this wine. It would be a great wine with steak or spicy, dry rubbed ribs. I tried it with some blue cheese, and the two together were wonderful. I will be bringing this out at barbeques or when meat is done on the grill this summer. For the price, I can keep several bottles on hand.

Wine, beer and spirits disclaimer: I am not paid by any producer of wine, beer or spirits to write about their product, although the company may provide me with a sample of the product. I am not a professional reviewer of wine, beer or spirits. I'll write about the product if it's something that I like and if I think the producer is working toward making the product in an environmentally friendlier fashion.

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