Grenache – The Forgotten Hero

Virgin Wines
Author – Mark Shacklady

International Grenache Day: September 16th

Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world. This very fact sometimes makes people sniffy about it, thinking it’s common and therefore not very good. But Grenache (also known as Garnacha in Spain) is actually a major component in some of the best, most prestigious reds in the world!

Take Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Speciale a blend of, yes you’ve guessed it, Grenache with Syrah and Mourvèdre – hardly a common-as-muck plonk!

GSM

This Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (GSM) blend has also taken off elsewhere. Top Chilean winemaker Perez Cruz has also got into the act with their take on this Rhône classic with Perez Cruz Potrero Seco Block GSM.

So what do you look for when buying Grenache/Garnacha based wines? First, this grape ripens late so needs a warm, long growing season. Old vines produce the best fruit with low yields and fantastically concentrated flavours.

Grenache Soil Is Key

The type of soil (the dreaded ‘Terroir’) is also important as our 4 wines from Spanish producer Capcanes set out to show with their Capcanes La Nit de les Garnatxes. Here they’ve grown the vines on Limestone, Slate, Clay and Sand. Using them to produce 4 very different pure Garnacha wines.

Full-bodied, soft, low in acidity and with gentle tannins, Grenache is definitely a favourite to enjoy with food. Lighter, fruitier styles make good barbecue drinking while the more serious wines like those from Châteauneuf or Priorat in Spain should be paired with a tasty roast (even Christmas Turkey if it’s not too soon to mention it!). Mid-range blends like a Côtes du Rhône are great with bangers and mash or good old steak and kidney pie.

So don’t ignore this versatile grape. Yes it’s widely planted, but that’s not because it’s common – it’s because it’s just so damned good!

 

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