Always on the lookout for red wine values, we seem to find an inordinate number of them coming from Spain. Our most recent discovery is from the DO Calatayud. Wait until you taste the big flavors of this wine! It way over-delivers for the money; this is one of the best bangs for your buck. It is not a wine of great complexity, but it has delicious, lush, and ripe fruit. Although it was aged completely in stainless steel tanks, it has some of the flavor characteristics that wood imparts with none of the rough texture commonly associated with tank aging. It is great with a traditional Spanish Stuffed Loin of Pork.
DO Calatayud lies about 90 km from Zaragoza, about 2/3 the way from Barcelona to Madrid. It consists of 5600 hectares of vineyards in the valley of the River Ebro, which flows south from Rioja. The landscape is reminiscent of parts of Utah and Arizona, with tall red buttes and dry arroyos in a high plains atmosphere. The vineyards are to be found on the south-facing slopes of the Sierra de la Virgen range at heights of between 550 m and 1000 m above sea level. Calatayud achieved DO status in 1990 and is Aragon's second largest quality wine-producing region.
Calatayud's climate is continental (hot dry summers and cold winters). Most of the vines are planted in soils that are stoney, loose, very poor in nutrients, and with a high lime content. The permeability is good, so the roots are able to obtain the water and nutrients they require from deep under ground. Red varieties predominate. Although seven red and four white varietals are authorized, by far the most significant one is Grenache (locally called Garnacha Tinta), which represents over 55% of the vines planted.
In the village of Villarroya de la Sierra, the arid landscape is punctuated by the Garnacha vines of Bodegas Terra Sigilata, a small winery named after the Roman ceramic factories that made amphorae from the red clay soil. At up to 1000 meters, the highest point at which Grenache will grow, these old vines are grown without trellis in the goblet (vaso) form and produce dark, concentrated fruit that in turn makes rich, expressive wine.
On a previous vintage - Wine Advocate (Jay Miller): 90 "The 2010 Filón was sourced from 30- to 40-year-old vineyards. Notes of smoke, mineral, and wild cherry mingle with layers of ripe cherry fruit on the palate. A bit more elegant than the Retorno bottling but no less pleasurable, this savory offering over-delivers in a big way. Bodegas Terra Sigilata is located at one of the highest points in Calatayud, a DO known for its old-vine Garnacha."