2018 Vintage Rosés from Spain and Portugal

The Garnacha Grape

This article on the rosés of the Iberian Peninsula is one of a series covering the vintage 2018 rosés currently in the American marketplace. We earlier published an article on Tavel rosés titled Tavel: The Rosé of Kings. Future articles will focus on sparkling rosé, rosé of Pinot Noir, East Coast rosé, and the rosés of Provence.

Spain accounts for almost 20 percent of the world’s production of rosé wines and has historically been an important exporter of rosé.  Traditionally, many Spanish rosés, especially Garnacha-based ones, had dark colors and ripe flavors, but a more modern, fresher and lighter style now dominates. They are much more in tune with consumer tastes today, and they offer exceptional value, usually costing $10-$15. Our reviews of several popular Spanish rosés follow.

The principal grape varieties used for rosé in Spain include Garnacha, Tempranillo, Mencia, and Bobal. Spain’s Garnacha rosés are mostly produced in Navarra, Campo de Borja, and Rioja.  Tempranillo rosés come from Ribera del Duero and Rioja where the grape is often blended with Garnacha and Viura, a white grape that contributes acidity. Mencia and Txacoli rosés come from the North Atlantic and are often light with bright acidity. Bobal rosés come from the Utiel-Requena region near Valencia.

In Portugal, the principal varieties include Aragonez (Tempranillo), Touriga Nacional, and Souzao.  The only Portuguese rosé in this year’s article comes from the Alentejo and is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Aragonez.

Readers wishing to read more about rosé should first consult our in-depth report The World of Rosé    and then read our recent article on  Tavel: The Rosé of Kings.   In addition, please consult Rosé and Food: Enlivening the Meal for advice on pairing rosé with food.

Wine Reviews

Bodegas Aragonesas 2018 Coto de Hayas Rosado Campo de Borja ($10) 87+ This rose is made of 100% Garnacha and displays pungent aromas of red berries and herbs. It is crisp on the attack with red berries and hints of lanolin on the palate and a dry finish. Importer: Scoperta

Bodegas Aragonesas 2018 Vina Temprana Rosado Campo de Borja ($9) 88 Light pink. Showing appealing scents of watermelon and rub grapefruit, this 100% Garnacha rosé is soft on the attack with a creamy palate and bright acidity. An easy drinking, lightly flavored rosé.  Importer: Scoperta

Bodegas Arrocal 2018 Rosa de Arrocal Ribera del Duero ($13) 88 Medium pink. This is an interesting, savory rosé revealing bold, herbal and earthy aromas and flavors. Made of 100% Tempranillo, it’s a well balanced wine that is best consumed with food.   Importer: Grapes of Spain

Bodegas Campos de Enanzo 2018 Rosado Navarra ($10) 88+ The Enanzo is a 100% Garnacha rose. Light ruby red in color, it is fruit forward and offers aromas of strawberry and herbs. On the palate it reveals ripe and mouth filling strawberry flavors with good acidity and a dry finish. One of the better Navarra Garnacha roses.  Importer: Regal Wine Imports

Bodegas Milenium 2018 Arrumaco Garnacha Rosé Valencia ($9) 91 Blush pink. This is a modern Spanish Garnacha-based rosé, light in color, fresh in fruit, and crisp and freshly textured. It shows notes of white pepper, white stone fruit and pomegranate on a softly textured palate and finishes with good vibrancy. Incredible value! Just 11.5% alc.  Importer: Hand Picked Selections

Casa La Rad 2018 Solarce Rosé Rioja ($18) 91 Pale pink. Showing bright fresh red cherry skin on nose and a delicious, full flavored palate mirroring the nose with additional stone fruit notes. Mouthfilling and with a lovely, lively finish. 13.5% alc. A blend of 25% Tempranillo, 25% Graciano, 25% Garnacha, and 25% Mazuelo.  Importer: Grapes of Spain

Herdade de Rocim 2018 Mariana Rosé Vinho Regional Alentejano ($13) 90  Pale pink. The Mariana Rosé could be mistaken for a top rosé from Provence with its light color, floral perfumed nose, and subtle, fresh red berry fruit flavors. It offers outstanding value in a fresh, crisp, easy to drink rosé. Congratulations to Caterina Vieira. Made from hand harvested, organically cultivated 60% Touriga Nacional and 40% Aragonez cold fermented 14 days with ambient yeast. 3.5 g/L RS 12.5% alc.  Importer: Shiverick Imports

Isaac Fernandez 2018 Bovale Rosado Utiel-Requena ($15) 89 Light pink blush. The Bovale offers a floral, spicy nose with notes of roses and a touch of cinnamon. It’s crisp and clean on the attack with original flavors of watermelon, pear, citrus, and poached pear, finishing with a lingering chalkiness. Made from 40 year old Bobal vines grown at 3 thousand feet elevation. 12% alc.  Importer: Grapes of Spain

Isaac Fernandez 2018 Legado del Moncayo Campo de Borja ($12) 91 Ripe strawberry nose. Crisp and dry on the attack, the Legado del Moncayo offers a nice bright focus of concentrated red berries and stone fruit on the palate along with excellent acidity and freshness. Finishes crisply with good persistence. 100% Garnacha; 13.5% alc.  Importer: Grapes of Spain

Marqués de Cáceres 2018 Rosé Rioja ($13) 89 Medium bright pink. With effusive strawberry aromas, this Rioja Rosé has a very soft attack and plush mouth feel with pomegranate and ruby grapefruit flavors. Its moderate acidity makes it especially easy drinking. A blend of Tempranillo from selected sites in Cenicero and Rioja Alavesa and Garnacha from high altitude vineyards in Cenicero. 8-10 hours skin contact and no malo.  Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.

Talai Berri 2018 Finca Jakue Rosé Getariako Txakolina ($20) 89 Light pink orange. Spritzy on the attack with light aromas of red berry fruit. Fresh and crisp on the palate with modest fruit flavors of raspberry and citrus. Lively and fresh tasting finishing dry. One of the better roses from the Basque country.  Made from the Hondarribi Beltza grape variety.  Importer: Regal Wine Imports

Viña Otano 2018 Rosado Rioja ($13) 90 Pale pale salmon. This is yet another very attractive 100% Garnacha from Spain, in this case Rioja. It has a nose of red strawberry with a touch of tangerine and offers a soft attack. The palate shows riper flavors and excellent balance with a creamy mouth feel. 12% alc.  Importer: Grapes of Spain


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