Bodegas Paniza Artigazo 2008

Dark cherry color; dark fruits, leather, meat, balsamic on the nose; cherry, sour cherry, blackberry, dark fruits, vanilla, chocolate, oak on the palate.

Blend of 40% garnacha, 30% syrah, 30% cabernet sauvignon; dry, medium-full body, very concentrated dark fruits, generally behaved tannins, good acidity (3.55 pH). The hand-picked grapes come from vines more than 40 years old, adding to the concentration and character. After fermentation, wine ages in oak for 18 months and then in bottle for another 18 months before release. At pop and pour, the intensity of the dark fruit overwhelms—this significantly benefits from decanting or time in a large glass, allowing tannins to calm down and vividly sharp fruits to soften and prepare to pleasure your palate.

Bodegas Paniza is located south of Rioja in foothills of the Sistema Ibérico, in the Denomination of Origin Cariñena—a region with a wine history reaching back to Phoenician and Roman times; Cariñena takes it name from Carae, a Roman settlement dating to 50 BCE. Currently, the winery is undergoing a major renovation and modernization; Paniza harvests more than 16 million tons of grapes a year; reservas and grandes reservas age in in 13,000 French and American oak barrels housed in cellars carved from rock. This is big operation producing affordable, quality wines—an example of the great values available in Spanish wines today.

Bodegas Paniza Artigazo 2008 offers concentration, complexity and power at nice price. $20-25

Bodegas Paniza website

Other photos: Bodegas Paniza; Bodegas Paniza Cariñena vineyard