Borsao is a well-known Spanish wine brand with origins stretching back to the 1950s in the city of Borja. It is the reference point for the Campo de Borja wine region. In 1958, the Cooperative of Borja was established. This cooperative (or “co-op”) founded the Borsao brand. In 2001, the Borja co-op merged with two others, Tabuenca and Pozuelo, and the new entity became known as Bodegas Borsao. With their combined resources and the best vineyards available, the group has gone from strength to strength ever since. Such know-how, expertise and passion for wine – particularly from the Garnacha grape variety – comes to life in the wines of Bodegas Borsao, which we will now discover together.
The Borsao Seleccion wine is a superb introduction to the Borsao wine range. It is a young red wine with no oak aging, intended for immediate drinking though with the capacity to keep for the medium term too. The wine is a balanced blend of Grenache (or Garnacha), Syrah and Tempranillo. It has an inviting bouquet of fresh fruit and spicy notes, and will pair well with most foods. Best of all, it is a seriously good value wine and one that you could definitely serve to a large group of people.
Here we have a step up in quality (though not especially in price) from the younger Borsao Seleccion. Borsao Bole has undergone three months of oak ageing, which adds depth and character while maintaining the freshness of youth. The blend is dominated by 75% Garnacha, originating from 15-30 year-old vineyards, and the balance is made up of Syrah, from 10-year-old vineyards. The result is an interesting balance with some complexity and notes of fruit and spice. At 15% alcohol, this is a substantial wine and will pair well with thick stews and roasts.
Next up is the Crianza style Borsao Berola. This wine, again a blend of predominantly Garnacha (80%) with Syrah (20%), has undergone oak ageing in Bordeaux-style oak barriques (225L oak barrels) for 14 months. The oak used is a mixture of French and American. The resulting wine has complex aromatics of dark fruits and balsamic notes, and is soft and supple in the mouth.
Borsao is something of a reference point for Spanish Garnacha, and this wine is certainly a reference point for Borsao itself! This wine is 100% Garnacha, with fruit sourced from mountain vineyards ranging from 35 to 60 years of age. As the Borsao flagship, this wine routinely receives very high critic scores. The influential American critic Robert Parker has scored the previous three vintages at 90 or above – 2012 received 92 points and the 2013 and 2014 have both received 90 points. Borsao Tres Picos has been aged for five months in new French oak, again in the Bordeaux barrique. The time in wood has imparted sweet, silky tannins upon the wine and truly make it something very special. This is a wonderful expression of the Garnacha grape variety, and will pair well with a wide variety of foods including game birds, stews and old cheeses.
The new wine from Borsao is called Zarihs. It is a Syrah grape varietal and hence its name: “Shiraz -> Zarish”. The first vintage, the 2013, has an extraordinary quality … the grapes, soil and climate are going to make this wine one of the great wines of Campo de Borja.
Find other wines that have been rated highly by Robert Parker that you can also get for under €20 here.