Garnacha. It's just fun to say. GAR-NA-CHA. As fun as it is to say, it is even more fun to drink. Garnacha is the Spanish name for the grape that we know as Grenache. It is best known as a blending grape in Southern France, a vital part of Cotes-du-Rhones and Chateau-neuf-du-Papes. It pops up every once in a while in California, usually in blends, rarely by itself. In fact it is not often seen on its own, except for of course in Spain.

In Spain you can find all sorts of Garnachas. The Spaniards love it. In fact it is their most widely planted grape. They grow it everywhere, in almost every region; Priorat, Rioja, Navarra, Catalyud and Ribera del Duero just to name a few. Garnacha is a hardy grape that can stand up to the extreme weather found in some of these regions. It is also a relatively versatile grape that can be made into big, thick, rich wines or soft, light, juicy ones. All of this depends on the climate, soil, age of the vines and the wine making process.

Garnacha in its inexpensive, every day drinking form tends to be the lighter, juicier style but always with a nice bit of rocky earthiness. These wines are great for warmer weather and can even be served slightly chilled. They are perfect for barbecues and picnics as they pair well with everything from grilled meats to cold chicken salad. Garnacha is also a perfect pour for a Tapas party (naturally) because of its ability to taste good with camarones, croquetas and everything in between. It is also, in my humble opinion, one of the best wines to use in Sangria.

Monte La Sarda is in the region of Aragon, an area located in Northeastern Spain. This wine is made from Garnacha vines that average 45 years in age. This gives the wine more depth and weight and richer, fuller fruit, but this wine is not by any means a heavy wine. It is a light juicy wine masquerading as a rich, full wine, if you will. It is a great every day wine that manages to be easy and fresh, but still take you to far off, sun-drenched, wind-swept lands. Which is why we paired it with this album from Gabor Szabo. This combination will whisk you from your couch to a Catalan hillside complete with gypsies carousing in the moonlight. Just say the magic word: GAR-NA-CHA.

MONTE LA SARDA GARNACHA, 2007