We have a particular fondness for wine grapes grown on old vines, owing to the intensity of character typical of generally low-yielding vines that have been producing good fruit for, say, a century or so. Such is the case in Atteca Old Vines 2010, a 100 percent garnacha from arid Spain that goes for about $15 to $17 at wine-savvy markets and wine shops.
This robust red opens on the nose with vibrant, spicy, juicy blackberry. On the tongue, ripe blackberry is joined by black plum and spice box accents, especially clove. Gunpowder tea gives it a fine edge through mid palate, and the wine's savor does nothing but intensify through a long, nuanced and spicy finish. Overall, well-developed tannins lend an agreeably assertive punch.
This is a wine to drink with muscular comfort foods like coq au vin redolent of red wine, earthy mushrooms and herbs. It also would go well with Spanish tapas, especially those involving sausages.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.