If there’s a grape that deserves to be more valued, then grenache is very high on my list.
From its base in southern Rhone, Grenache has spread to all four corners of the world and is producing fruity, juicy, mouth-watering wines.
Here are eight wines made from grenache that would be a welcome guest on any dinner table.
Bodegas San Alejandro Pablo Old Vine Garnacha, Aragon, Spain
This Spanish Garnacha is produced from 80+ year-old vines in Calatayud, in southwest Aragon. The nose is a temptress, full and rustic with herbal aromas of cherry and tarragon, and well-worn leather. These follow through on the palate with a lip-smacking juiciness and tones of red liquorice. With its smooth tannins, I’d love to try this wine with something spicy like blackened chicken or catfish! At $17, Pablo represents outstanding value. It’s a wine you can drink on its own or with a wide range of dishes.
CSPC + 205518
Real Compañía De Vinhos Garnacha 2012
Bright fruit of raspberries and cranberries greet you on the nose (maybe a little pomegranate, too). This is a flavourful, fruity wine yet has some depth with mulberry or plum on the palate, and a deceivingly full body. There are luscious tannins that can’t help but make you want to devour animal protein. This garnacha is a perfect wine for rabbit terrine or roulade, chicken balantine, spicy garlicky salami, eggplant stuffed with spicy pork, beef or pork tongue tacos or anything smoky or with bacon. Just on its own, it’s a great wine to drink with friends. The red crowns on the label represent the Royal Company of Wines.
A snip at $16 CSPC +763709
Bodegas Arrayán La Suerte de Arrayan 2013
This wine has a very alluring nose, drawing you in with its fruity, yet herbal aromas. Red berries are in evidence, plus harder to identify flavours of light liquorice – or is it mint? On the palate this luscious, silky smooth wine is soft and gentle, and completely moreish. You don’t have to have anything to eat to enjoy this wine; it’s a crowd pleaser, but give me a plate of eggplant curry or serrano ham. Include that in a Pan Catalan, and I’m home. I’m not surprised it’s so highly scored and awarded – it’s just delicious. Maybe add some black olives for good measure. This would be great with a pizza with tomatoes, olives, smoked ham or bacon and manchego cheese – yes please! The winery is pending certification of its wines as organic.
$26 CSPC +781955
Les Halos de Jupiter Gigondas 2012, Southern Rhône, France
A blend of 80% grenache and 20% mourvèdre, this knockout wine waits patiently in cement tanks for a year after fermentation. To preserve its character, it has not been filtered or fined, and is chock full of black cherries and spice, with noticeable fine tannnins and a loooong finish. This medium-to-full bodied wine is enormously enjoyable to drink now but will continue to develop for another 10-20 years. Only 6,000 bottles made.
Yangarra Estate Vineyard McLaren Vale Old Vine Grenache
The vines were planted in 1946 so they’re 70 years old… it’s biodynamic, wild fermented, elegant, and has a bewitching nose with aromas of mulberries, red plums, black pepper, marjoram, raspberries, and a hint of spearmint. It’s soft and succulent on the palate, fruity, fleshy and substantial, with lifted notes of red berries peeking through. I could drink a whole bottle of this on my own with roast duck or pork; a smoked bacon spinach salad; turkey and cranberry sauce; sausages with a little spice, and ribs done on the BBQ. $35 and worth every cent.
Torres 5 G Garnacha, Penedes, Spain
This young wine is bright and fruity, with all the flavours you’d hope for from a Spanish garnacha – raspberries and blackberries, with lifted hints of violet and herbs. The bottle represents the five generations of the Torres family, who settled in Penedes over three hundred years ago and have been making wine since 1870. Another easy drinking, wine that would be perfect with pork, chicken, and salmon dishes, and dishes with kale or spinach.
$17 CSPC +769637
Château de Saint Cosme NV Little James Basket Press Rouge, Rhone Valley, France
Now here’s a thing – a non-vintage wine from Château de Saint Cosme, a family winery since 1490, over 14 generations in the heart of the southern Rhone’s Gigondas region. It’s made in a solera system with vintages from 1999 to 2013, which gives the winemakers freedom to manage quality and style even in bad vintages, and at $19.95, it’s a much more complex a wine than you’d expect from its price tag. The wine starts with a rush and a burst of rustic flavours of dark berries, and would be an ideal food wine more than a sipping wine. It’s a wine to share with friends over a casual meal, when a couple of bottles will disappear very quickly!
$21 CSPC + 724259
Yalumba Old Bush Vines Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia
From Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, with five generations and 160+ years in the business, Yalumba has one of the oldest vineyards of very gnarled bush vines, producing very low yields of concentrated grenache grapes. This medium-bodied wine has bright cherry aromas that follow through to the palate (we tasted them with dried cherries and they were completely complementary!). It would be perfect with roast chicken, Chicken Ballotine and with a Thanksgiving Turkey, especially if there was cranberry sauce alongside! $23 is a steal for this wine!
Kitten Swish, 2014 Grenache, As I Move From Here To There
The 15th release from local Calgary micro-négociants, Brad Royale and Mark Kuspira, and 2nd release of Grenache from Domaine Magellan of the Languedoc, this organically farmed wine is ideal for our warm late summer days at this time of year. The nose is full of ripe stemmy fruit, pomegranate, cranberry, a little mandarin peel and (Brad’s descriptor) Skittles. It’s a lighter-bodied juicy wine, so you can keep it in the fridge and serve it cool on hotter days. Kitten Swish Grenache would be ideal with rich foods like fatty duck and charcuterie, but it’s a very drinkable wine and great for sharing with friend and a pile of appies.
CSPC +771332 $30
Check out liquorconnect.com for where to find these wines in Alberta.