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 ( 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.

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Episode 5 – In The Shadow of Stardom, Beaujolais Nouveau, Carmenere

November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Episode 5 – Link to Podcast

Show Notes

Segment 1: Beaujolais Nouveau

The first wine of the vaunted 2015 vintage. Critics are saying that 2015 is the vintage of a century no matter if the wine is from BC, California, or Europe. This years Beaujolais Nouveau is a harbinger of the wines to follow.

Beaujolais is a region in France and is the southernmost area of the famous Burgundy Appellation. All the red wines from the region must be made of 100%  Gamay Noir and all the grapes must be hand harvested.

Recommended Wine: Georges DuBoeuf Paper Label ~ $18.49

Segment 2: In the Shadow of Stardom

It’s really about basic economics of supply and demand. Those regions that are world famous only produce so many bottles but have huge demand. Regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa Valley have no trouble in selling their wines at top dollar each and every year. However there are many more regions and wines around the world that exist in the shadows of stardom.

Recommended Regions for Value:

Italy – Umbria, Sicily, Marche, Puglia, d’Abruzzo

France – Languedoc, Provence

Other Europe – Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Greece

California – Lodi, Paso Robles

Other World – South Africa, Chile, Argentina

Other BC – Similkameen, Kamloops

Specific Wines Mentioned – Periquita (Portugal), Painted World (South Africa), Masia F (Spain)

Segment 3 – Carmenere

Thought to have vanished from the world after phylloxera destroyed thousands of acres of vineyard in the Europe in the 1860’s, and one of the original 6 Bordeaux grapes, Carmenere was only recently rediscovered as being alive and well in Chile.

In the late’s 90’s Alvaro Espinoza noticed that certain vines in the blocks of Merlot were consistently ripening later each year. He had the DNA analyzed and it was found that the mystery vines were indeed Carmenere.

Recommended Wines – Falernia Carmenere ($17.99), Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Block 12 Carmenere ($34.99), Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah ($9.99-$10.99)

Segment 4 – Best Buy of the Week

Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

Le Clarion des Anges 2013

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.2 – Good Drop/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/4dc/16438419/files/2015/01/img_0656.jpg

Price: $14.99

About the Wine: I picked up this wine because I love wines from the Rhone Valley and the packaging is pretty cool (my wife’s name is Ange and she is an angel :)). The nose shows lots of terroir characteristics like dried herbs, black pepper and licorice, along with a generous burst of ripe raspberry, blackberry and butter pastry. The palate is juicy and filled with fruit and lush silky texture. This finish is where the complexity and terroir shows; dried herbs, licorice and juicy plum. I like the truth in terroir and thus it’s a damn good drop.

Value: To me this shows a lot more complexity that many of the $10-$13 ‘bulk’ wines on the market and thus the extra dollar is totally worth it to me.

Added Value: This has romance and date night written all over. Think of soft light, gentle music and perhaps a lovely glowing fire and you have the moment this wine was made for.

Service: Let breath for 15-20min or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
before serving. I love this with a roast of lamb or marinated flank steak. It also works wonders with cheese Fondue.

Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre

Store Section: France

Appellation: Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 14.0%


Casting Wine Roles

September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

This weekend my wife and I stole away to Tigh Na Mara for our anniversary weekend. Just the two of us for a couple of days of R&R. Of course that meant some great food and great wine. I approached the wine selection much like a casting director would a film. I cast specific wines for specific roles. If they performed their roles really well they would go on to test their versatility in other roles, if they did fine, they maybe be set up for a life as a character actor, and lastly some would simply be a pretty face that was able to pull off the role in a convincing way. Let’s face it I think most people purchase their wine kind of like this. You can’t separate the quality of the wine from the experience. Only cork dorks, like myself, have the opportunity to sit down at huge tasting tables to compare wines of similar ilk and pontificate as to their quality and value… in that experience.

There were 5 wines involved in our weekend (no we didn’t finish every bottle). Corte Giara 2004 Amarone (2nd label of the famed Alleghrini winery in Veneto, Italy), King Estate 2008 Pinot Noir (Oregon), Rosemount Estate Shiraz (Southeastern Australia), Moreau 2008 Chablis (Burgundy, France), & Cassini Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir.

Rosemount Shiraz was chosen as the wine for departure. You know the night before you go somewhere when you pack, eat a light meal, bath the kids and check twice that you have everything.

Moreau 2008 Chablis was chosen to be the ‘warm up band’ wine. The wine we drank when getting ready for or preparing dinner.

King Estate 2008 Pinot Noir was chosen off the list at the Cedars to go with both of our choices of meals (Wild Mushroom Bisque, followed by a mixed Seafood Grill for Ange and a full Rack of Lamb for me).

Corte Giara 2004 Amarone or the Cassini Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir would be chosen for the dinner we prepared in our room on Saturday night. As it turns out we went with the Corte Giara as we had a meal of various cheeses, some smoked salmon, olives, bread and bruschetta. That took the pressure right off the Cassini Cellars who will live to perform in another post.

With all the wines put into their roles, the only question left was did they meet the expectations of their roles.

To my palate the wine that exceeded my expectations for the role it was given was the Rosemount Shiraz. Granted there wasn’t a lot of pressure in its role, but that’s why I decided to try it there. Rosemount Shiraz has been around for a number of years and as such has been overlooked and almost forgotten by me. For the $16 I spent it was okay if it let me down.
It is a welled balanced fruit driven wine that showed some backbone and acidity that I don’t remember in the wines from years back. This wine was to be a comfort wine and it performed brilliantly. Conclusion: Rosemount Shiraz will move on and be placed in the ever turbulent and often cutthroat scenario of the Big Family Meal.

The next wine I really enjoyed and thought fit its role nicely was the King Estate 2008 Pinot Noir from Oregon. To recap this was not a pre-planned wine as I only saw the wine list at the Cedars once I sat down to dine. The wine had to work with the earthy savory flavours of wild mushroom bisque, but also pair with the lighter bodied, slightly sweeter context of Ange’s Mixed Seafood Grill and my heavier, more savoury meal of Rosemary crusted Rack of Lamb.

The silky texture and underpinnings of ‘fall leaves’ with bright cherry did the trick. It enhanced both the flavor and subtleties of the Lamb and caressed the gentle sweetness of the Seafood Grill. Conclusion: Met the role well, however I’m not sure this would be a sipping or comfort wine, as the price is roughly $40. I would order/buy this again when in a restaurant or at home preparing a finer meal. Character actor.

The Moreau Chablis was the set up wine or ‘warm up band’. This was the wine we used to whet our pallates before a meal. Bracing acidity, zesty lime flavors along with generous minerality insured a satisfactory on its grading, however I can find and enjoy as much, wines about $10 less for the same role. Conclusion: Pretty and decent in the role, but pretty expensive for what it could do.

The Corte Giara 2004 Amarone. I was so looking forward to this as I am lover of Amarone, Valpolicella and Valpolicella Ripasso, and it is rare that I have the occasion to enjoy Amarone due to cost. The wine was completely set up to win. Simple foods with rich flavors and body, an easy going evening, some nice cool jazz playing in the background, and a great view off our deck. I saw myself curling up in the moment, alas the wine was okay but did not fit the bill. It tasted a little to angular. Although older, it’s Amarone for god sake and it should stand up and prefer some age. Instead it showed some plum, raisin and chocolate, but the finish was acidic and short. Conclusion: Did not meet the role and will not be moving on to other roles. I see informercials and voice overs for this wine.

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