A Samsó and Garnacha Lovechild

Surprisingly stunning

Posted by Daniela DaSuta on January 14, 2016

I was a sucker for the colorful label, the primary colors beckoning me forth like an attarctive child's toy. I expected little from the contents; I merely wanted to wash down some barbeque chips and accompany my latest Netflix binge. As if sensing my indifference, the wine opened with a soft but passive-aggressive "phwoof". I poured myself a few ounces and nearly fell off the couch at first sniff.

Blackberry preserves, rich and candied. Dark chocolate-dipped black cherry. Cinnamon stick and whole cloves. A leather, worn wallet, damp leaves, velvet magic.

Well, cross my heart and call me ignorant, it was gorgeous! Fruity and structured, with a whiff of tertiary notes already forming despite its youth. Golly, I was hooked. I even paused my show to glance over at my significant other, his eyebrows also raised in surprise. "Honey, this is bomb. This is bae of all Catalan wines. We must buy more. WE MUST."

Samsó-Garnatxa by D. Russell Smith

Well, within a few minutes, he had found it on a distributor's site, and I now have the jolly task of buying more. Consider it done.

It's like an Old World wine made steamy love with a New World wine and birthed something gloriously in between... the solution to any wine party. Face it, us wine lovers have stared blankly at the liquor store shelves after being asked to bring a bottle for a party. Does the host like a jammy, hot style, or does he prefer more subtle fruit and a touch of earth? Well, my friends, this is the answer. Technically still Old World in winemaking style but alcoholic and fruity enough to appease the fruit bomb freaks.

And don't assume that the wine didn't have good acid or tannic structure. BECAUSE IT DID. It was lovely in prettu much every possible way.

Oh, yes, the varietals. It's Grenache (a.k.a. Garnacha/Garnatxa) and Samsó blend. I thought that Samsó was some sort of indigenous Spanish grape, but it turned out to be Carignan, a grape prized for its high yields and resistance to mildew. Normally high-yielding grapes tend to produce bland, uninteresting wines, but I think that all of these grapes were treated with care and yields were reduced to improve quality.

The producer, D. Russell Smith, is an American who has homes in both Spain and Austin, Texas, where I am! Another point for this wine.

For those familiar with distributors, Republic carries it for $18-ish and Twin Liquors carries it at most stores. Get you some.

A couplet applauding D. Russell Smith's 2012 Garnacha/Samsó Blend:

Garnacha mated with Samsó
Creating a wine that I cannot forgo.
It won my heart with just one sip
A winner from the time it touched my lips.

Be Uncommon.
Drink Uncommon.