Grenache – 2016’s ‘Wow’ Wine: Show Notes Episode 21
March 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
Grenache is the ‘International Man of Mystery’ of the wine world. Dashing, attractive, can handle himself in every situation, known by many names, is global, and is a part of some of the biggest stories of the year.
Today’s show is all about Grenache and includes some recommendations from France, Spain and Australia as well as some key food pairings.
Link to Podcast (when available).
Raise A Glass – Grenache.
The BC Hospitality Foundation (www.bchospitalityfoundation.com) dedicates themselves to support members of the hospitality industry whether it is help to meet financial obligations when illness strikes, or in the form of scholarships to assist in the on going study of the industry from service, culinary and beverage. I know the the founders and they have been industry leaders for decades. Their intentions are pure and the effects have been life changing – Cheers
BC Hydro Emergency Crews – this week saw the strongest winds that I can remember. Numerous power outages hit the South Island and magically within hours the power was back. The skill it must take to get into a bucket, be pushed into the teeth of the wind, remove branches or repair live wires, is truly amazing. Cheers.
Segment 1 ~ The Story of Grenache
I firmly believe that Grenache will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/17. First it is planted all over the world and there is an ocean of awesome wine produced each year, meaning great wine can be gotten for low prices.
Second it a grape that is often overlooked but forms the backbone of some of the world’s most sought after wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape and Priorat.
Third its taste profile. Ripe juicy fruit flavours that range from black and blueberry, through raspberry and currant depending on where it is from. Spice and savoury herb flavours and a delightfully soft texture owing to the fact that Grenache has naturally low tannin levels (low pucker).
Combine these three facts and you have the makings of a Grenache Tsunami.
Grenache is known by multiple names depending on the country it is grown in. Grenache is most common, but in Spain it is Garnacha, Portugal it is Alicante Bouschet, and Cannonau in Italy.
Although the true origin of Grenache is not known, it is said that it originated on Sardinia and replanted throughout the Kingdom of Aragon which stretches from the Spanish Pyrenees down to Valencia. What’s interesting is that Sardinia, around the same time that Grenache was transplanted to the Spanish mainland, was under the control of the Kingdom of Aragon.
Segment 2 ~ Grenache in Gaul, The Kingdom of Charlemagne, Home of the Franks, otherwise known as France.
Grenache is widely planted throughout Southern France and centered in Languedoc Roussillon, Provence, and all through the Southern Rhone valley including being the backbone of Chateauneuf du Pape.
Each unique region shows its own flavours of Grenache but for the most, Grenache from France features more of the juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit flavours and tends to show more black and white pepper than do Spanish or Australian versions.
Here are a couple of wines that truly over deliver for their prices.
Mas Janeil – $19.99, blend of mostly Grenache, but also has some Carignan and Syrah (full review to follow).
Gayda ‘Flying Man’ 2014 Grenache – $14-$15, 100% Grenache and super juicy! (click here to see full review).
Paul Mas Grenache Noir – $13, 100% Grenache (click here to see review).
Cote Mas – $13, Mostly Grenache, with some Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre as well (click here to see full review).
La Bastide – $11, Mostly Grenache with some Syrah. (click here to see review).
Segment 3 ~ Garnacha in Iberia, Hispania, Espana, also known as Spain.
The Kingdom of Aragon was at the height of it’s power in the 14th and 15th centuries and included most of Spain, much of the southern coast of France and the island Corsica and Sardinia. I mention this as it is said that Garnacha originated in Sardinia (known as Connanau in Sardinia), and was transplanted by Aragon royalty in Spain.
Garnacha is used in Rioja, Ribero de Deuro, Navarra, La Mancha, Somantano, but it is the main grape in areas of Calatayud, Carinena and Campo de Borja.
Again, depending on the region you will find differences in the taste profile, however Spanish Garnacha shows ripe raspberry, cherry and currant fruit flavours along with savoury herbs like Thyme, Sage and Rosemary.
Here are some recommendations of Spanish Garnacha that over deliver for their price.
Campo de Borja 5G – $16 (full review to follow).
Borsao – $13 (click here for full review).
Castillo de Monseran Old Vines Garnacha – $12 (click here to see review).
Segment 4 ~ Grenache in the World
Grenache loves long, hot, dry summers so it has flourished in places like California, parts of Chile and Argentina, but perhaps where it is most comfortable is in Australia.
In the 1800’s there was mass emigration from Europe. A number of these emigres took with them their food and wine culture in hopes of transplanting them in their new home. Numerous Italians and Spanish emigrated to the area now known as South Australia and immediately planted Grenache. In fact some of the oldest Grenache in the world can be found in the Barossa and Riverland areas of Australia.
You have all heard of Penfold’s and its iconic wine Grange. Grange now fetches close to $1000/bottle, but it wouldn’t have been if it were not for Grenache.
Rawson Penfold first planted Grenache upon his arrival and built a business based on port like wines (the naturally high alcohols that come from Grenache made it ideal for this purpose). If it wasn’t for the success of his Grenache based ports, the world would be without the Penfold’s brand and Grange.
Here are just a couple of Grenache and Grenache dominated wines for Australia that won’t break the bank and show fantastic quality.
McPherson ‘the Dish’ Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre – $15 (full review to follow).
Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz – $13 (full review to follow).
Segment 5 ~ Food Pairings for Grenache
Grenache is a wedding planners dream. It is one of the most food versatile wines on the market. It goes with spicy foods (higher alcohols work as a solvent for hot spice), it loves roasted poultry, lamb, anything encrusted with savoury herbs, paté…. and the list goes on.
I highly recommend having any of the wines above with Roast Lamb with Moroccan spices, Korean Ginger Beer, Indian Butter Chicken and roasted Turkey.
Best Buy of the Week – La Bastide 2014 (click here for full review)
the Dork UnCorked
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.