Mon 31 Jan 2011
Well, here’s a reasonably priced and winsome little red wine to drink with pizza (as we did last night) and pastas, hearty winter soups and braised meat dishes. It’s the Evohé Viñas Viejas Garnacha 2009, from Spain’s Vino de la Tierra del Bajo Aragón region, which, I have to say, is a new one on me, and as my seventh grade teacher Miss Simpson told our class almost every day, “Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn no other way.” The wine is made by Bodegas Leceranas in Zaragoza and imported by Vinum International in Napa, Ca., but in reality Evohé is one of the brands on the vast roster of Fred Franzia’s Bronco Wine Co. (Franzia has at last conceded to the Forces of Modernity and allowed a website where you can see how vast this roster is, and I recommend that you do.) Anyway, evohé — ay-voh-hay — is an ancient Greek word of greeting and evocation, much like its Latin cognate “Ave,” used in the Bacchic rituals to hail with exuberance the return of the god of wine and disorder to his ecstatic and generally disorderly followers; remember that in The Bacchae of Euripides the mad and maddened Maenads tear King Pentheus of Thebes limb from limb. That’s a heavy burden of myth, history and lexicography for a straightforward and tasty wine to bear, but such is the case, in my crammed mind at least. Anyway, Evohé 2009, which sees no oak, is pure grenache from start to finish, and, Mama, that’s all right with me. The color is a beautiful black cherry hue with a magenta rim; the bouquet is bright, ripe and vivacious with notes of blackberries, blueberries and black plums that seethe with lavender and licorice and sleek slate-like (say that three times fast) minerals. In the mouth, much is the same, with these luscious black and blue fruit flavors taking on wild touches of mulberry, briers and violets, all plushly set into moderately dense and finely-milled tannins allied to lively acidity. Alcohol content is 14 percent. Drink now through 2011 or into 2012. Very Good+. About $12, a Raving, not to say Dionysian, Bargain.
Image of Maenads doing a number on King Pentheus from a fresco in Pompeii (commons.wikimedia.org)