LAYA GARNACHA TINTORERA MONASTRELL (2010)—The wine I DIDN’T drink last night

Apparently my dad went over to the neighbors’ last night and finished off all their Johnnie Walker Black. The whole family went over actually, leaving me with an empty liquor-store bag. They must have bought wine to take with them before abandoning me to a house full of violent and possibly possessed animals, all without opposable thumbs.

I hope you’ll forgive me, my fellow inebriates—I was a bit angry. I didn’t realize the family was leaving until the last minute—not in time to stow away. I felt lonely and sad. So I decided to recruit Glen Bear to help me smash some bottles open and start our own party.

Polar bears being unpredictable, I wanted to make sure Glen was happy. So I told him about some foul-smelling canned salmon my dad had opened a while ago and forgotten in the fridge. But neither of us, lacking thumbs, could get the damn fridge open.

Photo credit: Miss V

So now my feelings of abandonment were compounded not just by the DTs but by an ornery polar bear romping around the kitchen. Just when I thought Glen might give up on the fridge and eat me instead, we heard a sound from the living room. OMG! Miss V’s scooter had fallen over all by itself.

Of course you know it didn’t fall over by itself. Fluffy had used his freaky evil mind on it. Things at LBHQ were going from bad to worse. Next I expected some officious Strata Council representatives to break into the house just to see if we got their warning letters.

But nothing else happened all evening. I was so freaking bored I started reading my parents’ receipts. And I saw they had indeed bought wine: LAYA GARNACHA TINTORERA MONASTRELL (2010)—a sensible go-to dinner wine from Spain and within the LBHQ price range. I felt partially mollified that they’d chosen a wine I’d had before rather than a new one that I would have wondered about forever. (We tried LAYA a couple of months ago while watching the season finale of Breaking Bad, which riveted all the bears including Glen, even though he didn’t understand it.)

Hailing from the Almansa region 700-1000 meters above sea level, LAYA is a luscious ruby-red combination of 70% Garnacha Tintorera (itself a red-skinned hybrid of Petit Bouschet and Grenache) and 30% Monastrell. Known as a blending grape, Garnacha Tintorera is increasingly appearing as a headliner varietal, although in the case of LAYA its intense fruity depth borrows some complexity and tannic action from the Monastrell grapes.

My favorite aspect of Monastrell grapes is their tendency to amp up the alcohol percentage in a wine. At 14.5%, LAYA doesn’t disappoint. But it goes well beyond being a vehicle for getting pissed.

Monastrell grapes

On the nose LAYA is ripe, expressive, and thankfully free of the barnyard notes that Monastrell can sometimes impart if not matured sufficiently. LAYA hits the tongue with plump, juicy notes, lingering across the back-palate with an elegant finish. While it doesn’t offer tremendous complexity, nor will it enthrall you, it is balanced and easily drinkable—and according to my parents when I interrogated them this morning, a good accompaniment to good food and conversation.

At $13.99 LAYA is a liquor-store gem with excellent value. My parents should bloody well have sprung for two bottles.

Okay, thanks for reading the rant. I know it was my fault I didn’t clue in and jump into my mum’s bag before they left. Then I could have helped my dad polish off the neighbors’ Johnnie Walker and had some LAYA. I am an idiot.

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