Jeb Dunnuck 95
The flagship Grenache from Breca is the 2014 Brega. One hundred percent Grenache from higher elevation, hillside parcels and aged in 40 new oak, it offers a powerful, pedal-to-the-metal style in its ripe black cherry, melted licorice, roasted herbs, and meaty aromas and flavors. Deep, rich and opulent on the palate, with a terrific mid-palate, hints of vanilla oak, and no hard edges, it's a sexy, high-quality wine that will give many a top Chateauneuf du Pape a serious run for its money. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age (decant if drinking anytime soon) and will keep for a decade.
Wine Advocate 91
"There is a new top-of-the-range red Garnacha, the 2014 Brega, produced with grapes from extremely old vines. It started fermenting in 2,500-liter stainless-steel vats and finished in 500- and 600-liter oak barrels (40 of them new), where the wine matured for 20 months plus a further eight months in neural, well-seasoned 600-liter barrels. 1,000 meters altitude on slate soils. This has a whopping 16.1 alcohol! It's heady, ripe and generously oaked, very smoky and a little meaty, with a slightly international profile as the ripeness and levage made it a bit mainstream. The palate is full-bodied with abundant, dusty tannins and a dry, warm finish where the oak is still very noticeable, as is the alcohol. Give it more time in bottle. Very good in its oaky, end-of-the-1990s style. For fans of oaky reds. 6,240 bottles were filled in April 2017."
"Garnacha, though most well-known for its French name Grenache, is a variety that is indigenous to Spain. Originally cultivated millennia ago in what is now the autonomous province of Aragon, Garnacha was first spread to southern France and Italy by the medieval Spanish Kingdom of Aragon, which had holdings across the Mediterranean. Due its original cultivation in Aragon, the oldest clones worldwide of the Garnacha variety are planted extensively in D.O. Calatayud and nearby D.O. Campo de Borja. Bodegas Brecas philosophy is to highlight the unique characteristics of the Garnacha from Calatayud.
Calatayud is an arid, barren, and mountainous region three hours to the northeast of Madrid. Certain areas of Calatayud are so lifeless that they are used by NATO for bombing practice. The D.O. is centered around the high-altitude vineyards located in the mountains, which are characterized by rocky soils composed primarily of slate. Bodegas Breca is located on the outskirts of the town Munebrega, which for many centuries was a Celt-Iberian city that resisted Roman occupation for decades until the arrival of Scipio Africanus on the Iberian Peninsula. Viticulture flourished under the Romans, but in the 20th century, cooperatives dominated the winemaking scene in Calatayud. Jorge Ordonez, founder of Bodegas Breca, was the first person to introduce D.O. Calatayud into the United States.
Bodegas Breca owns and leases vineyards exclusively of the original clones of Garnacha, planted on the Sierra de Pardos and Sierra de Pena Blanca. These vineyards, planted between 1900 and 1975 are all head trained and dry farmed. Brega, the top cuvee from Bodegas Breca, is produced from the two oldest vineyards that the winery owns, planted in 1900 and 1911.
The oldest of the two vineyards is planted at 1,000M. above sea level (3,300ft. ) in iron rich red slate soils. This vineyard site produces wines with a tremendous intensity of deep black fruit. The vineyard planted in 1911 is planted at 1050M. above sea level (3,440ft.) in gray slate soils, which lend an elegance and minerality to the wine. The altitudes of these vineyards are responsible for a distinct mesoclimate characterized by drastic temperature swings between day and night. In the height of the growing season, it is not atypical
to swing from 40 F at 8AM to 95 F by noon. These conditions are responsible for slower phenolic ripening and as a result, produce very elegant wines with phenomenal acidity.
The Garnacha from these two spectacular plots is hand harvested and rigorously sorted at the winery. The whole berries are macerated in two 2.5-ton stainless steel open top fermenters. Before the fermentation is finished, the must is pressed and transferred to a selection of 500L & 600L French oak barrels. In these barrels, the wine finishes primary fermentation and undergoes malolactic. The wine spent the first 18 months of ageing in 40 new, 60 used puncheons and demi-muids. The next 10 months were spent in completely neutral 600L demi-muids. The profile of the wine is extremely elegant and focused on the linear, pure expression of the Garnacha from Calatayud.~Winery Notes
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Located in the sleepy town of Munébrega, Bodegas Breca was founded by Jorge Ordóñez in 2010 with the mission of producing the finest Garnacha in Aragón. Garnacha de Aragón, the clone used to produce the wines of Bodegas Breca, is the most ancient and genetically untouched clone of of Garnacha (Grenache) in the world. Garnacha was first cultivated in this northeastern corner of Spain, and transplanted across the Mediterranean by the medieval Kingdom of Aragón, which had territories across the Mediterranean.
D.O. Calatayud has a very unique, extreme terroir. The combination of radical altitudes, diverse slate soils, and drastic climate combine to create a completely unique mesoclimate. As Spain's highest region for the production of Garnacha, Calatayud frequently sees temperature swings of 45˚F between day and night. In our mountainside vineyards (2600-3500ft.), our vines are oftentimes exposed to 40-100˚F diurnal temperature swings in the summer. The heat allows the grapes to achieve full phenolic ripeness, and the cool nights build high acidity in the grapes. Due to its long vegetative cycle, Garnacha requires a relatively dry, hot climate to reach proper phenolic ripeness. The cold nights, dawn, and dusk, combined with a variety of slate dominant soils, allow the grapes to reach high levels of acidity. Our head trained vineyards were planted between 1900 and 1975, and as with all of the Grupo Jorge Ordóñez vineyards, they are dry farmed. These conditions produce exceptionally balanced wines with ageing potential due to their concentration and acidity.
Garnacha, most famous internationally for its French name Grenache, is a grape cultivar that was most originally planted in the Kingdom of Aragón in the northeast of Spain during the Middle Ages. Transplanted across the Mediterranean by the Aragonese, who had holdings in southern France and Italy, the original Garnacha evolved into more productive clones now planted in Southern France – the same clones that are famous for the very aromatic, lighter body and color wines that they produce. The most widely planted red grape in the world, the vast majority of the Grenache plantings are of these more modern, unauthentic clones on trellis. However, in present day Aragón, it is still possible to find vineyards of these old clones planted up to a century ago in decomposed iron rich red and black slate soils."
Jorge Ordóñez pioneered the introduction of Garnacha into the United States in the 1990s, when Garnacha was the most widely planted grape in Spain. At the time, however, all of the Spanish red wines available in the American market were Tempranillo dominant. Jorge recognized the quality of the old vine plantings of Garnacha and and the wines they produced, and exposed the United States to these sensational wines.