The 2012 La Maceta Garnacha (translates to The Flower Pot) is a $4.99 ALDI import exclusive, produced for them by Bodegas San Valero in the Cariñena DO of Spain. Bodegas San Valero is a cooperative of 700 small growers (they farm 8,600 acres) founded in 1944. The Cariñena DO is located in the Zaragoza Province of Aragon in northeast Spain. Cariñena has produced wine for over 2000 years and Garnacha comprises 55% of the Red grapes grown. ALDI’s does not give any information about the production of the La Maceta Garnacha, but inexpensive Spanish wines tend to have little or no wood aging and are intended to be consumed within a year or two (the sooner the better). The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color is a see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is ripe strawberry and raspberry, along with licorice and pepper. The La Maceta is a dry, medium to full-bodied wine with soft fruit upfront and a solid dose of spice on the mid palate and finish. It starts with mellow strawberry, plum and rich blueberry. The mid palate shows chewy tannins, they do not bite, but they are a very strong part of the flavor profile, along black pepper and mild curry spice. The finish is far fuller and far longer than you would expect from a 5 buck wine.
In Spain, a good, solid bottle of wine will sell for less than a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi or Coke, it is the everyday wine of Spain. If you are going on a picnic or grabbing a bite to eat at a café, it is the bottle of wine of choice. In the US, a five buck bottle is seen as something you only drink on a dare. The $5 2012 La Maceta Garnacha is a very solid bottle of wine, it has good body, an interesting display of flavors and textures, solid structure and a long finish and it will pair very well with a variety of foods. The Spanish expect inexpensive wine to drink well, to compliment the meal, in America we expect do not expect or demand much of our inexpensive wine. Until California starts steadily producing satisfying inexpensive wine, it might be wise to stick with Spain and France (Australia,too) when choosing wine in the $5 dollar range.