Balthazar is a large-scale bottle that holds 16 normal sized ones. Baltasar is a 100 percent Garnacha red grown on 100-year-old vines in Catalayud, a region that doesn’t get a great deal of press and yet is well known among Spanish wine lovers for producing some of the best Garnacha in the country. Part of the reason for that is that the vines are so old meaning that each year they produce fewer and fewer grapes, but those that do grow have a particularly concentrated flavour. Usually this means you pay a lot more so this bottle is a particularly good deal.
In the glass, it’s a deep, dark purple with smudges of violet around the edges, very pleasing on the eye and a sure winner if you crack it open early in the evening. There’s plenty of fruit—like drinking a cup of blackberry juice—so goes down easy, but combined with a nice, racy streak of acidity, a bit of minerality and a tingle of spice it works with the palate rather than overpowering it. For the money, it’s a great value, and very reliable food wine that you can serve with just about anything.
I served it with roast lamb rubbed in Moroccan spices, babaganoush and tabbuleh so you get an idea of its diversity, standing up to strong and distinctive flavours well. I also think it would work well with Indian curries and spicy dishes generally.