Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva

June 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Albas de Los InfantesOne of the things about the wine business is that it is a business of passion. I can tell you there isn’t a lot of money in it, and if you were to ask anyone involved they are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love it. So it is sad when you hear that a talented, passionate importer has decided to pack up and move to a different industry because he can’t make ends meet. The silver lining however is that he has reduced the prices on a number of products in his portfolio. Including the Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva.

For those that don’t know for a Spanish wine to be called Gran Reserva is must be aged 2 years in barrel and further 3 years in bottle. What this means is that the wine grower and the wine maker saw something in the quality of the grapes and resulting wine that was special. So special that they decided to assume the added cost of a min. 5 years of ageing.

Typically the price for a Gran Reserva wine from Spain starts at the $22 mark and goes up, way up from there. So when the importer told me what the ‘clearance’ price was I started to salivate. It took a while for me to find some bottles in stores, but when I did I was over the moon.

It is not too often that a wine gets a Best Buy rating from me, as it truly needs to punch well above its weight to do so, but this is one.

Price ~ $12.99

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

It may only be $13 but please let it breathe for at least 30 minutes. If you do you will be rewarded.

The colour is a dark red/purple and the nose shows bright red and blue berries, with some spice and leather.

The palate shows a ton of fresh fruit, while the texture is supple and richly textured. The finish shows generous berry and black tree fruits along with some sensuous savoury spices.

I know that I will be buying this by the case.

This weekend all the dad’s in the family will be enjoying a barbeque, and that is exactly what I would recommend for this wine. Slow roasted ribs, grilled meats, chicken. This would also be a delight with some medium aged cheeses right up to some top quality manchego.

Grapes ~ Tempranillo, Garancha

Store Location ~ Spain

Availability ~ Limited to private stores. I got mine from Spinnaker’s James Bay.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Cusumano Nero D’Avola ~ Over Delivers

May 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m a big fCusumano Ner D'Avolaan of pro-cycling and one of my favourite races of the year is happening right now; Giro D’Italia. In light of this I tend to lean towards Italian food and Italian wines.

The first Italian stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia are down in the south of Italy so I thought I would start my Giro with a fine, dark, sultry, vivacious red that naturally hails from the south; Cusumano Nero D’Avola.

Price ~ $19

Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers

Immediately there is a difference. There is a glass cork that allows you to reseal the bottle, assuming you don’t finish it.

Pour the wine into your glass and as it tumbles you can already sense the intensity of the aromas, colour, and indeed what the flavour will be like.

The nose is bursting with dark fruits, ripe plums, blackberries, savoury spices. It’s kind of like fresh blackberry pie with some plum and blueberry thrown in.

The palate is rich, full and indicative of the sun drenched vintages that are very common in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. The finish is long and juicy. I really loved this wine.

This would be an ideal match for a grilled marinated hunk of meat, anything with BBQ sauce on it. Beer But chicken seems to have a particular affinity for this wine.

Grapes ~ 100% Nero D’Avola

Store Section ~ Italy

Availability ~ both private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

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The Cheese Platter ~ Show Notes Part 1 Episode 26

May 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

I know that this is a little backwards, but you know what, that is just the way this is going to roll.

Charelli's LogoHeather from Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen was good enough to drop by with a very impressive cheese platter, designed with Mother’s Day in mind.

A word to the wise, if you are looking to order a cheese plate 2016-04-26 13.58.17for Mother’s Day, do so Thursday or Friday this week at the latest (once you see the platter you will know why.) To order it is best to call at 250-598-4794.

There was lot’s to cover and lots of great cheese was enjoyed. Below you will find the name of each cheese, a brief description and the wine that I would suggest to go with each. At the bottom of the page I will make some suggestions that should work with the whole platter.

Le Dauphin

A creamy, ‘tender’ cow’s milk cheese from France. Savory herb and spice flavours.

Pairings

Red – Lighter bodied wine liked Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. I’m thinking specifically the Cono Sur Bicicletta Pinot Noir (Chile, $11)

White – Sparkling or Pinot Gris. Zinck Cremant d’Alsace (France, $22), Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (BC, $18)

Beer – A good Pale of Amber Ale.

Balsamic & Onion Cheddar

Wow, lots of great savoury flavours all rolled together. I could nibble this all day. Savoury Balsamic, sweet onion & cheddar. Awesome.

Pairings

Red – Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy, $18) or Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza (Spain, $18)

White – Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio (Italy, $15), Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)

Beer – Belgian Dubbel or Tripel

Etorki 

Fromage_EtorkiThis cheese has a really interesting story to go along with its generous sweet earthy aromas and flavours.

Made the same way for 4000 years this is a sheeps milk cheese made only from Red or Black faced Manech ewes that are native to the French Basque region. It takes 6 gallons of milk, just to make 1 wheel.

Pairings

Red – Albas Infantes Gran Reserva 2007 (Spain, $14, private stores only), Masia F Tempranillo ($12, Spain, private stores only)

White – Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC, $19), Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australia, $13)

Beer – A nice lager like the Hoyne Pilsner.

Humboldt Fog

Humboldt_Fog__1This cheese comes from the US and is a Goat Cheese that has a little sliver of ash through the middle. The ash is tasteless and acts and as a natural ‘cleanser’. The cheese is definitely a goat cheese but also has citrus y element. I love goat cheeses and this was a dream, especially the slightly runny part just inside the rind.

Pairings

Red – Red wine is not the perfect pairing for this cheese, but if you insist on red it should be something with bright acidity, fresh fruit and some earthy character like either a Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir – McPherson ‘The Butterfly’ Pinot Noir (Australia, $15)

Gamay Noir – Regnie Maison de Buillaits (France, $20)

White – There is only one type of wine I would recommend with this cheese and that is Sauvignon Blanc!

Lurton Fumees Blanches (France, $14), or Sileni Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, $19)

Beer – Steamworks Jasmine IPA (BC, $6), it is the gentle floral quality of this brew that makes it special for the Humboldt Fog.

Manchego

ManchegoManchego comes from the home of Don Quixote, the plains of La Mancha in central Spain. This sheep’s milk cheese can have grassy flavours if it is young, the one that Charelli’s brought is middle aged and has more of a combination nutty, fruity, grassy kind of flavour. Manchego is one of my go to cheeses when I am at home.

Pairings

Red – I’m partial to Garnacha with this cheese although I could be talked into a good Tempranillo or Portuguese Castelao.

Garnacha – Borsao Garnacha (Spain, $14).

Tempranillo – Masia F Tempranillo (Spain, $12)

Castelao – Ermelinda Monte de Baia (Portugal, $13)

White – My best pick would be of a Chardonnay that has a little age to it. Something from 2012. Sadly these are little harder to find.

Chardonnay – DMZ Chardonnay (South Africa, $19)

Viognier – Le Paradou Viognier (France, $15)

Beer – A Kolsch (lagered ale) would be great – Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch (Victoria, $12, 6 Pack Cans).

Saint Agur

SaintAgurCheeseSt. Agur is a creamy blue cheese, but not as intensely blue as traditional blue cheese. For this reason it is very versatile. It can be pretty runny which makes it great for dipping.

Aged for 60 days, this cheese has a ton of flavour which makes it a great choice for a cheese plate as it balances the more subtle cheeses.

Pairings

All I can think about is Port with this cheese, but here are some everyday pairings that will also work.

Red – This cheese would love a big rich, juicy full flavoured red like an Aussie Shiraz or California Zinfandel, and for those a little more adventurous I would go Nero D’Avola or Monastrell/Mouvedre.

Aussie Shiraz – Skulls Shiraz (Australia, $20)

California Zinfandel – Paso Creek Zinfandel (California, $16)

Nero D’Avola – Cusumano Ner D’Avola (Italy, $16)

Monastrell/Mouvedre – El Petite Bonhomme (Spain, $14)

White – Big juicy, unctuous Chardonnay is the ticket.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay – (Australia, $15)

Road 13 Stemwinder Chardonnay Blend – (BC, $16)

Beer – nice malty brew seems to be the best bet here.

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Ale – (UK, $3, 330ml)

Gulden Draak – (Belgium, $4, 330ml)

Cantenaar

cantenaarThis dutch cheese is best known for being low in fat and sodium, and that could contribute to why it is so popular, but my guess is that it is more about the fact that it may be reduced in fat and sodium but it is huge in flavour.

Cantenaar is a medium gouda that offers delightful nutty , buttery flavour.

Pairings

Red – this cheese is a crowd pleaser and deserves a crowd pleasing wine to go with it.

Grenache – Gayda ‘Flying Man’ Grenache  (France, $15)

White – just like the above, I would go with a versatile wine that almost everyone will love.

Prosecco – Ogio (Italy, $17)

Pinot Gris – Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)

The pairings noted above are to go with each specific cheese, which would be great but you will be left with about 12 bottles of wine to purchase which may not be to feasible, so here are a few suggestions for Mother’s Day that will work with the entire cheese plate, and are versatile crowd pleasers.

Red 

Borsao Garnacha – (Spain, $14)

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – (Chile, $11)

Masia F Tempranillo – (Spain, $12)

White

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)

Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australian, $13)

Sparkling Wine

Ogio Prosecco – (Italy, $17)

Beer

Hoyne Pilsner – (Victoria, $6, 650ml bottle)

Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch – (Victoria, $12, 6 Cans)

Well I hope this is helpful and that you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy & Me Tea: Show Notes Episode 25

April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Pendray-Logo-Black-Gold-rgb-300x205This was not today’s show, but somehow I forgot to post it last week.

Today’s show was a bit of surprise. Carol had heard about a Mommy & Me tea at the Pendray (Gastby Mansion) and it triggered memories, so we thought we would invite Jayde Eastbrook to come in and tell us about it.

Link to podcast (when available)

Segment 1 ~ The Weather & The Farmer’s Almanac

In recent weeks we have been enjoying some fantastic weather and the question on everyone’s lips was “will this continue?” and for that answer I have turned to the Farmer’s Almanac. I have found it to be a great predictor of long range forecasting.

For years I would get the long range forecast to help predict inventory needs for liquor stores.

The Farmer’s Almanac has been around a long time and has consistently delivered long range forecasts. It reputation for accuracy came close to 100 years ago when it had predicted snow in July. Turns out that a major volcanic eruption in Asia spread high level ash over the globes atmosphere causing temperatures to drop in July, which lead to snow in July. From then on Farmer’s have been turning to the Almanac. I raise a glass to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Segment 2 ~ Mommy & Me Tea (Mother’s Day, May 8)

Jayde Eastbrook joins us to talk about a unique experience that I can only imagine happens in Victoria – Mommy & Me Tea. A chance for mom’s and their kids to get dressed up and go for afternoon tea.

People have taken it to a whole new level of dressing, including Fascinators (this was news to me: huge headdress type units that Kate Middleton often wears), and all of their finery.

Chef has prepared a number of classic and unique offerings that there is something for everyone including a huge variety of teas.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year when it comes to restaurants so the Pendray wanted to do something unique.

If you are interested in going it is best to get reservations now. Call the Gatsby Mansion 250-381-3456 and ask to be put through to the Pendray.

Segment 3 ~ Tea Sommelier

Did you know that the Pendray has their own tea? It is a line of teas that is specifically chosen by a Tea Sommelier (Reza Nasooti). Yeah a Tea Sommelier, chooses their teas and then and only for them.

This is something that I will have to do more research on for sure.

Segment 4 ~ Aromatic Whites

With this weather and the thought of floral teas I couldn’t help but daydream about a lovely glass of aromatic white wine.

I started thinking Moscato (like fresh peach juice),  Gewurztraminer (lychee nut, pears, spice) or a Riesling (pear, orange blossom).

Here are few of my favourites that you can find in the market right now.

Moscato

Peter Lehmann Moscato ~ $16, Australia, Private Stores (limited stock).

Innocent Bystander ~ $18, Australia, both private and public stores.

Batasiolo Bosc Moscato ~ $21, Italy, both private and public stores.

Gewurztraminer 

Valckenberg Pflaz Gewurztraminer ~ $20, Germany, both public and private stores.

Gray Monk Gewurztraminer ~ $15, BC, both public and private stores.

Cono Sur Gewurztraminer ~ $10, Chile, both public and private stores.

Riesling

Balthasar Ress Riesling ~ $17, Germany, both public and private stores.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ~ $17, Washington State, both public and private stores.

Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling ~ $14, BC, both public and private stores.

Best Buy of the Week ~ Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling, $14 –  truly delicious Riesling from some of BC’s oldest vines.

Tune in Sat. April 30, 2016 For the Mother’s Day Show – Beer, Wine & Cheese Selections for Mom

 

Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache

April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

GAyda Flying ManSteak was on the menu for Friday. I had started marinating the steak in some balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, lime juice, red wine and pesto at about 3 in the afternoon (I have done it with frozen steak where I make the marinade – about 5 minutes – and plop the frozen steak in the marinade while it thaws. By the time everyone gets home at night, everything is good to go). As you can surmise and good steak needs a good wine and I was in the mood to continue my exploration of Grenache.

As I have said before I really think that Grenache as a wine grape is on the cusp of rising to the top of the heap in terms of popularity and volume. Why? Because the flavour profile is perfectly in line the North American palate, there is a ton of it made each year, it is made in most growing regions around the world, and it’s quality is rarely in doubt (just ask the producers in Chateauneuf du Pape & Priorat).

With all this in mind, and because one of my favourite stages to watch in the Tour de France is the summit finish on Mount Ventoux, I went looking in the French section and found the Gayda 2012 ‘Flying Man’ Grenache.

Price ~ $15

Score ~ 7.4 Over Delivers

The wine is dark in the glass and the nose shows deep blackberry, plum and ripe raspberry. The palate is richly textured with good structure (meaning it feels good in the mouth and it could stand up to a big steak), and a medium-long finish. The flavours match the nose with the added bonus of savoury spices like Rosemary, Thyme, black pepper and just for good measure, a kiss of lavender.

There is some depth to this wine and I suspect that although this wine is already 4 years old (3 in the bottle), it improve with another year or so under its belt. I suspect that if I returned to this in one years time the score would be in the 9’s or Best Buy range.

In addition to steak, this would work well with lamb or pork chops, roasted turkey or turkey kebabs with savoury spices. This strikes me as a great wine for some Manchego cheese or an aged Gouda.

Grapes ~ 100% Grenache

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

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Gehringer 2014 Private Reserve Riesling

April 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gehringer RieslingEvery morning I take Oxxo the family dog for a stroll around what we call the loop. Recently the loop has not only provide some wonderful vistas but it also bursting with Spring flowers. The morning air has been filled with a Cornucopia of floral scents and it put me in the mood for some aromatic white wine.

To that end I tripped down to my local store and spend some time perusing the BC/VQA shelves. I came upon a wine that made me smile. I smiled because I have such fond memories of meeting with Walter Gehringer at his winery on the Golden Mile Bench.

I spied his 2014 Private Reserve Riesling and snapped it up.

Walter has some of the oldest Riesling vines in BC that has consistently produced some of the best wine year after year after year.

I recall first trying what has become the Private Reserve Riesling back in 1995 when you could count on one hand the number of quality producers in the Okanagan. Today there are over 150 inching towards 200, and yet the Gehringer wines are still priced under $20… well under $20. Thank you Walter.

Price ~ $14

Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers

When I stick my generous nose in the glass I am pleasantly welcomed with white peach, pear and a hint of Jasmine flower. The palate is well balanced showing great flavour and finesse, with the finish delivering fresh fruit and real refreshment (hard not to have a second glass).

I suspect the elegance of this wine is a function of this wine being in bottle for a year before it got to me. Old vines like the ones that Walter has, can not be rushed into expressing themselves fully. Time allows the wine to make its full statement and allow the taster to sense the wisdom of their choice. I would love to try the 2015 beside the 2014, but that is just the dork in me.

Pair this wine with, and this is really simple to do, chicken thighs marinated for a number of hours in Lemon juice, Orange Juice, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, touch of cayenne pepper, and a half a cup of white wine. The pairing is simply fantastic. I would also pair this wine with anything that has cumin and little spice to it, fresh fish and Spinach salad with some citrus in it.

Grapes ~ 100% Riesling

Store Section ~ BC/VQA

Availability ~ both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Spring Wines: Episode 22 Show Notes

April 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

Spring is here. We have enjoyed a phenomenal week of sunshine and temperatures around 20C. As the season changes so do our behaviours. Our behaviours when it comes to consumption and what our day to day looks like.

Typically when sun is out we stay up later, get up earlier and start to eat fresher foods and do more grilling. Today’s show is all about wines for a ‘Spring’ lifestyle.

Link To Podcast

Segment 1 ~ Is Wine A Part of A Healthy Lifestyle?

I maybe a little biased but I believe that it is. There are reams of studies suggesting moderate consumption is actually healthier than abstinence and certainly healthier than heavy consumption. But what does moderate consumption mean? The answer to this question is the sticking point.

In North America 1 glass of wine a day for the average person (height & weight), whereas in Denmark moderate consumption is considered 4-5 glasses a day. My belief is that this points to the fact that science hasn’t been able to separate wine consumption from other elements of a culture’s lifestyle.

I do love the stories about the 110 year old Greek man or Italian woman who swears up and down that drinking 4-5 bottles of wine a day is the secret to a long life. I suspect that the truth is not just in the quantity but in the process.

Consider that in Greece and Italy most of the food is without preservatives. Also consider that lunch and dinner are integral to the culture, communal and done slowly over hours. In contrast, North America is famous for a ‘quick’ bite at the desk or shoving some food in prior to taking the kids to ballet/soccer/hockey class.

I believe that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a smile, exercise, clean food and a pace that allows one to consider the beauty of the people, surroundings and food they are enjoying at the moment.

Quick Note on Vintages

This is an exciting time of year for us dorks as the new vintages of whites and rosés from the Northern Hemisphere, and all from the Southern Hemisphere are starting to appear. What makes this spring so exciting is because it sees the arrival of the 2015 vintage. The world over this vintage is said to be one of the best. Some of the wines below may have transitioned already.

Segment 2 ~ Red Wines For Spring

In spring we tend to get out of the kitchen and on the BBQ and that typically means more grilled meats, salads and fruits. To that end here are some red wines that pair well with Spring because they are a little light in body, are a little brighter on the palate and offer fresh fruit flavours instead of stewed or cooked fruit flavours.

Borsao 2014 Garnacha – $15, Grenache, Spanish Section of the Store and available in both public and private stores (2014 review to follow, click here to see 2013 review).

Ermelinda Monte da Baia 2014 – $12, Castelao-Touriga Nacional-Syrah, Portuguese section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).

Cono Sur Bicicleta 2014 Pinot Noir – $14, Pinot Noir, Chilean section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).

Segment 3 ~ White Wines For Spring

Halibut season is upon us and just around the corner is Spot Prawn season. Anyway you look at Spring means more fish in our diets along with more fruits and vegetables. Here are some white wines under $20 that are brilliant with Spring fare.

Campogrande 2014 Orvieto – $17 Trebbiano, Italian section of the store, and only available in private stores (click here to see review).

Lindemans Bin 65 2015 Chardonnay – $13 Chardonnay, Australian section of the store, available in both public and private stores (click here for review).

Aveleda 2014 Vinho Verde – $17, Loureiro-Trajadura-Arinto, Portuguese section of the store and only available in private stores (2014 review to follow; click here for 2013 review).

Segment 4 ~ Rosé Wines for Spring

Did you know that Rosé is the fastest growing category between red, white and pink wines. It is a category that is finally coming into its own and truly provides the flavour essence of Spring.

Mocojo Long Stem 2014 Rosé – $18, Pinot Meunier-Pinot Noir, BC section of the store and available only in private stores (click here to see review).

Quill 2014 Rosé – $18, Gamay Noir, Vancouver Island section of the store and available only in private stores. (click here to see review).

Cazes de L’Ostal 2015 Rosé – $15, Grenache, French section of the store and available mostly in public stores right now (click here to see review).

Best Buy of the Week – Ermelinda Monte da Baia – see above for detail and click here to see the review.

Cheers

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.

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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)

Cheers

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.

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La Bastide 2014 Pays d’Oc

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

La BastideI firmly believe that Grenache, and Grenache blends will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/2017. I declare this to be true for a few of reasons.

  1. Taste Profile – Grenache is alway juicy and easy to enjoy, with a delicious kiss of savoury spices and a soft round texture because the grape is naturally low in tannin (pucker).
  2. The Underdog Effect – Grenache has long been considered a blending grape and therefore its impact on the quality of a wine has either been overshadowed or totally missed. Loads of cork dorks around the globe are choosing Grenache because it so overlooked.
  3. Value – Grenache is the second most planted red grape in the world meaning there are oceans of quality Grenache produced each year meaning there are lots of great wines under $20 and even under $15.

I was strolling around my local store looking for that underappreciated bottle of Grenache at a real good price… enter La Bastide.

La Bastide hit the market like a bomb a few years back. Every store had a stack and it was flying out the doors. Little did people know that this wine is about 70% Grenache, hence its juicy delicious character. Well that was a few years ago and now this wine is most likely found on the bottom shelf as the shine has worn off. That is great news for those looking for a juicy, delicious wine with loads of flavour, lively spice, a soft texture and are willing to bend their knees to get a bottle that totally over delivers for the price.

Price ~ $11

Score ~ 7.4/10 – Over Delivers

This is a real crowd pleaser and if you are looking to get married this summer or perhaps you are buying the wine for the nuptials, this is a great choice- inexpensive, over delivers and is incredibly food versatile.

Speaking of food I would have this wine with anything BBQ. Either BBQ sauce or slow roasted. Oh and it is also awfully good with a flank steak that has been marinating all day.

Grapes ~ 70% Grenache, Carignan, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both Private & Public Stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

PS – to keep things rolling I have signed onto acting as an affiliate for items that I think are truly noteworthy, remarkable and consistent with my values. If you don’t please click on the following, take a look and if you purchase, they send a commission that would be greatly appreciated.

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Castillo de Monseran 2014 Garnacha

February 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Castillo de Monseran GarnachaGrenache, or Garnacha, is a grape on the rise and that is good news for those seeking great wines but don’t want to sell the farm to do so.

Most famously Grenache is a key to Chateauneuf du Pape, but it is also the main grape in regions of Spain such as Calatayud and Carinena, and these are where some of the greatest buys are hailing from.

Garnacha is a late ripening grape that requires a lot of heat to reach its full potential, hence you will only find a few expressions grown in the very southern reaches of the Okanagan in BC.

Garnacha is truly a crowd pleaser grape. Dark juicy fruits of raspberry, plum and blackberry, low in tannin meaning very little pucker. The only challenge is keeping the acidity up in order to insure a balanced wine.

Crowd Pleaser is definitely the phrase I would use for the Castillo de Monseran. Dark juicy fruit, very soft and brilliant with casseroles, Mac N Cheese or Pizza.

Price ~ $8.99

Score ~ 7.3/10 Over Delivers

This wine scores high on the value meter and would have scored higher is there is a little more depth to it. Having said that as soon as I paired it with food it was brilliant.

If you haven’t added Garnacha to your repertoire of wines, this is a great one to start with and it won’t set you back an arm and a leg.

Grapes ~ 100% Garnacha

Store Section ~ Spain

Availability ~ available in both private and public stores.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

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