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.
February 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
Grenache, 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.
the Dork UnCorked
January 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here we go, the top 3 scoring wines of the week, and what a week it was. Glorious weather and a lot of fun seeing how the wines fared with the meals of the week. To be clear there was no attempt to pair the wines with the meals as the meals were just the usual fare.
You can click on the link and go directly to the full review. In this post, under each of the top scorers I have included an excerpt from the review.
By the way The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at my email.
Top Scorer: Artesa 2010 Rioja Crianza
Score: 9.1 Best Buy
Excerpt: “I’m not sure if there is a better value in the Spanish section. Sadly this wine only seems to be available in a very few stores. I would easily put down the Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza at $19.99 for the Artesa. As for trade ups I would happily move up from entry level $12-$14 California Cabernets and Merlots for this wine. Caveat: If you are looking for a big powerful fruit explosion, this is not your wine.”
Score: 8.9 Over Delivers
Excerpt: “If you are a fan of Chianti Classico or Sangiovese based wines in general, this is a keeper. I have chosen this over straight up Chianti at $16/$17 many times. I have even put down some Chianti Classico at $20 for this wine as it is in limited supply and really, really enjoyable. The depth and character of this wine is a good starting point for anyone looking to dip their toe into the pool of European wines. It’s just a small step from $13-$17 California or Aussie wines into this wine and the enjoyment is truly there.”
Score: 8.6 Over Delivers
Excerpt: “There are thousands of Pinot Grigio’s in stores these days. After tasting many they divide themselves into two groups- Marketing & Classic. The ones in the marketing group are those trying to take advantage of the popularity of the name Pinot Grigio. Those in the classic range are those that share classic Pinot Grigio aromas and flavours. The Montalto Pinot Grigio falls into the Classic group and certainly Over Delivers for the price.”
I would to hear your comments, especially if you have found one the reviewed wines at a store that I have not listed. If you let m know I will update the post and will forever be in your debt. Otherwise let me know what you think… feedback no matter the nature is makes the blog better.
The Dork UnCorked
January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 8.4 – Over Delivers
About the Wine: Reserva, in this case, means something and I like that. This wine has been barrel aged for at least 12 months and bottle aged for at least another 2 years given the vintage. The effect is to soften the rough edges that can be found in blends like this. The colour is deep ruby-red bordering on purple, while the nose is a cacophony red and purple fruits, spices, leather, herbs and purple flowers. The palate is complete as there are layers of flavours that unfold right from the attack through the mid-palate and the finish. The texture is firm but with soft edges; no hard angles. For the money this wine over delivers for the price. I didn’t give it a best buy because the wine lost its composure overnight and when I went back to it the next evening it wasn’t the same wine.
Value: There is a lot to this wine and it is well worth the $1 trade up from some of the $11-$14 wines on the market from California, Australia and Argentina. It is not for everyone so those looking for big generous gobs of fruit should look elsewhere. This wine is about finesse and nuances.
Added Value: All foodies take note of this wine. For you this is a Best Buy.
Service: Let this wine breathe for 20-30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi before enjoying. Have this with a big plate of paella, flat bread or small plates. It would be a mistake not to share this wine at the same table with others.
Grapes: Garnacha (Grenache), Tempranillo, Carinena
Store Section: Spain
Appellation: D.O. Carinena