Haunting, stylish, suave, and well bred, the 2001 Dehesa La Granja is simply great Spanish wine and a tribute to the viticultural revolution sweeping Spain. It is also the finest example of Dehesa La Granja released to date. The 2001 Dehesa is deeply colored, full-bodied, and highly polished. It is, also, highly extracted, intense on the palate, and redolent with the aroma of sandalwood, spice and crushed black fruits. Each sip reveals more ripe fruit and additional nuances of flavor that nearly explode in a long, lengthy finish. Furthermore, extended breathing time only heightens the hedonistic pleasure inherent in this wine. It, also, discloses the ripe voluptuous fruit that stands at the core of this complex wine. As with all fine vintages of young Dehesa La Granja (and 2001 is an outstanding vintage), further aging will improve this tour de force in winemaking. The question is whether or not you are disciplined enough to wait any longer to try it or smart enough to lay down an ample supply for future gratification. After tasting the 2001 Dehesa La Granja, one has to wonder if Spanish wine has ever been better. As one long time panel member commented, "this is the real deal when it comes to Spanish reds." If you like sophisticated, full-bodied wines, the 2001Dehesa La Granja will more than fill that bill. For optimum enjoyment, we suggest serving this Spanish classic at cool room temperature (62º - 66º F). Anticipated maturity 2006-2010.
In Spain, it is traditional to serve full-bodied red wines with grilled meats, rich stews, and heady paellas, and we see no reason to deviate from tradition in the case of the 2001 Dehesa La Granja. In fact, Dehesa La Granja pairs quite well with nearly all meats. We especially recommend beef and lamb as ideal accompaniments. Yet, we also like the Dehesa La Granja with pork and homemade Italian sausage. A spicy bean cassoulet is another one of our favorite dishes with this wine, and we would not hesitate to serve the comely 2001 Dehesa with venison tenderloin, prepared with glazed onions and served in a rich black currant sauce. Yum! Rich winter soups, served with crusty brick oven bread and a few slices of a great Spanish cheese like Manchego or Roncal, provide other beautiful pairings. A garlic and herb roasted rotisserie chicken provides another excellent accompaniment to the Dehesa, as does a combination of marinated eggplant, zucchini, roasted red peppers, garlic and olive oil. Whatever you decide to serve, enjoy!
Editor's Note: The 2001 Dehesa La Granja is a natural wine that is made with a minimum of intervention or manipulation. In keeping with a course of natural winemaking, Dehesa La Granja has been bottled unfiltered. Consequently, it is likely that many bottles of this fine, handmade wine will precipitate some natural sediment. This harmless precipitate is not a flaw in the wine. Rather, sediment is the result of expert, natural winemaking practices. To alleviate or eliminate the sediment in this wine, the contents of the bottle may be carefully decanted after the bottle has stood upright for at least an hour. Enjoy! Dehesa La Granja is one of the four jewels in the tiara of splendid wine estates that Alejandro Fernandez of Ribera del Duero fame has brought to fore. Dehesa La Granja and the three other Fernandez gems: Condado de Haza, El Vinculo, and Pesquera rank among the finest wine estates in all Spain. In the case of Dehesa La Granja, the estate is located on a 1,800 acre ranch that borders the Duero River in Zamora, just west of the Ribera del Duero. Beginning in the 17th century and for nearly two hundred years, La Granja Valdeguerena was a major wine producing estate, before it was converted to one of Spain's greatest bull fighting ranches in the 19th century. At an enormous expense and in his usual fastidious fashion, Alejandro Fernandez resurrected and reconverted La Granja and its extensive 17th century cellar to their original vocation – the production of one of the Duero's finest wines. Since the restoration, Dehesa La Granja has fashioned intense, traditional Tempranillo wines that have consistently garnered major critical acclaim. These wines spend two years in oak barrels and are bottled completely unfiltered, so it is likely that they will precipitate some harmless, natural sediment. This sediment is in no way a flaw. Instead it is a sign of the natural winemaking process that prevails at Dehesa La Granja and Fernandez's other estates. In order augment the current small production at Dehesa La Granja, an additional 300 acres of Tempranillo vines have been planted at La Granja on their own rootstock (due to the property's compact sandy soil that is resistant to phylloxera), which will eventually supplement the old, un-grafted Tempranillo vines in the Guerena Valley that La Granja is presently using for the property's newest, full-bodied red. It is the likes of Dehesa La Granja that underscore the Renaissance in winemaking that has gripped Spain in the past decade – a rebirth that is transforming the potential of the world's third largest producer of wine into a veritable repository of outstanding and affordable treasures.
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