Historically a blending variety, Grenache is starting to make a name for itself more as a front man than merely dance-at-the-back hanger-on. Think New Kid on The Block gone solo.
Grenache is a widely-planted, sun-loving grape from the Mediterranean; somewhat counter-intuitively, it is reducing in quantity just as it is increasing in quality. The reasons for this are varied, but mainly because Grenache can be both a prolific producer of inexpensive fruity quaffers (for which demand is declining) as well as something much more sophisticated and complex when properly handled.
Fruity and thin-skinned, Grenache is not generally a wine for oaking or aging; as a varietal wine, it tends to be pale, fruity and ripe with high-ish alcohol. For this reason, it is often blended with some Syrah for colour and Mourvèdre for tannins.
Here are three Grenache / Grenache-based wines for #InternnationalGrenacheDay - or just any coolish, late summer evening.
Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenache 2018 (£17.99, Wine Direct, Latitude Wine Merchants (Yorkshire), Amazon, Vagabond, The Specialist Cellar, Cambridge Wine Merchant, Australian Wines Online, Frazier’s Wine Merchants, Flagship Wines, Richard Granger, Voyageurs du Vin, House of Townsend, Vinotopia)
100% Grenache from Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, a lighter-style Grenache showcasing bright Barossa Grenache at its best. It has bags of flavour and character yet easy drinking for those who might ‘prefer white’, as well as being food friendly with lighter foods you might normally have with a white wine to richer style dishes that work with a typical red.
pale in the glass, almost Pinot-esque; wild strawberries, leather, complex oaky spice and herbaceous, minty sage; fresh red berry fruits, eucalyptus, sappy, savoury and warming-spicy.
Drinks well on first pouring and continues to improve with aeration.
Match with spare-ribs or pork pie; will work well with mushroom based dishes
Delicious on its own as an aperitif. Try it served lightly chilled.
Torres Salmos 2017 (£21.99, Fareham Wine Cellar, Vinvm, Rannoch Scott Wines, Winebuyers, Hedonism Wines, Sandham Wine Merchants)
Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah blend that pays homage to the monks of the intrepid Carthusian order, who arrived in Priorat in 12th century, renowned for its steep impoverished rocky slopes of black slate-like ‘licorella’ soils, which gives the wines its ‘graphite’ or mineral character. **********
dusty, dried sour cherries, tarry black fruits, plums and forest berries with toasty / grilled flavours, licorice and anise, leather and sous bois, cedar, cocoa and spices; supple, harmonious and well-structured. Complex, concentrated, inky and long.
Still very youthful at four years; needs several hours' in the decanter or several years' cellaring to show its best.
Match with plain roast red meat - or venison when mature.
Vidal-Fleury Vacqueyras 2018 (£27.99 from Wadebridge Wines, Great Grog Bottle Shop, Whole Foods Market, TheDrinkShop.com)
50% Grenache, 45% Syrah and 5% Mouvedre matured for 18 months in both tank and foudre from the oldest continuously operating winery in the Rhône.
dark fruits, fresh cherries, florality, complex spice and cassis; red and black fruits, violets, mint and dried green herbs with rounded, plush tannins; fresh, full, supple and savoury with excellent underpinnings and a gentle-yet-firm grip.
Needs some aeration and will repay cellaring.
Match with roast leg of lamb with sage, rosemary, and thyme, or mature cheeses.
More on Grenache from WSET: