Spain is the new champion of crowd-pleasing, heavyweight reds with wines that often exhaust the palate after a single glass. But here’s an exception from a winemaker not crafting to popular taste. The wine below was a love at first sip for me – tempering the richness with an earthy personality. It felt real. Hard to say if this is due to the winery’s traditional winemaking practices – natural yeasts, clay amphoras, no filtering, minimal fussing, or whatever, but it has the feeling is of a red from the pre-smooth and boring era. Loved it.

FINCA CASA BALAGUER 18 Garnacha, Alicante, Spain 13624 Vintages $15.95

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