PICK of the RACK: Baronia del Montsant | Flor d’Englora Roure | Red Blend | Montsant | Spain | 2009 | $15 | 89 pts

Aromas:  black cherry; baking spices; hint of vanilla bean
Character:  full-bodied & earthy; medium tannins & firm acidity; toasty oak & mineral
Flavors:  dark fruit compote; pomegranate; roasted plum; sweet cured tobacco; bitters
Food Pairing:  sharp cheeses; grilled meats and veggies; roasted pork; TexMex.

Baronia del Montsant Vineyards

Here’s a robust and luscious wine from the Montsant appellation of northeastern Spain, a mountainous region (west of Barcelona) where wine grapes are grown on steep, craggy slopes.  Low-yielding old vine Grenache and Carignan are the dominant red varieties in the region, and they figure prominently in this wine (60% and 35%, respectively) along with splashes of Merlot, Syrah, and Tempranillo.  The wine’s deep color hints at the saturated aromas and flavors that abound – gobs of black fruit, spice, and earth – all impeccably balanced.  It’s aged in French and American oak barrels for only four months, just enough to lend subtle hints of toast and vanilla to the mix.  This is a solid, sophisticated wine for the price and stands as one of the best values we found in 2012.  Try it with hearty and spicy fare and you’ll be amazed that something so good can be had for so little.

Availability:  Flor d’Englora Roure can be found at Total Wine stores, which are scattered across a number of states these days.  For more information about this wine or others produced by Baronia del Montsant, visit the winery virtually at  http://www.baronia-m.com/.

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