Friday, 20 September 2013

It's International Grenache Day!

Yeah, I hadn't heard of it either but hey... Let's celebrate the fact that it's World Grenache Day today! Party hats at the ready!

So what better way to celebrate than by drinking some cracking Merlot?

WHEY got you. We are drinking Grenache, allll of the Grenache.

So what the hell is Grenache anyway?

Grenache is an increasingly popular grape variety that was once found mainly throughout Spain and Southern France. Known as Garnacha in Spain, it is thought that the variety originated in northern Spain and then spread over the Pyrenees into France and now can be found all over the world.

It is now arguably most famous for it's use in the blended wines of the Rhone region in France and Rioja in Spain, although it is most extensively planted in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It's also now a popular blend in the New World, particularly with Syrah.
Grenache is responsible for juicy fruit flavours and spice in a wine.

If Grenache was a person, it would be that lazy Brit on holiday that wants to do nothing but sit in the sun. This is a grape variety that loves the heat, it takes a lot to ripen fully so will happily sit out all day in boiling temperatures, sipping on a cocktail by the pool.

Grenache isn't only a red wine grape but there is also Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, which are again most commonly found in the Languedoc region of France, producing some stunning white wines.

So where can you find some great examples of this under-appreciated variety?

Look no further!

La Vieille Capitelle 2011 Languedoc is a classic example of a blended red wine from the south of France, where Grenache is the predominant variety.

This medium-bodied red is made by former French rugby legend Gerard Bertrand, with the characteristic spice that you would expect from a Grenache dominated blend. It also has some delicious herbal notes and a lovely hint of oak.

A prime example of how delicious a Grenache dominated blend can be, La Vieille Capitelle 2011 Languedoc is available from Majestic for £7.99 per bottle.

Domaine Jones 2011 Cotes Catalanes is a stunning example of white Grenache, or Grenache Gris. These grapes that go into the "Jones Blanc" were planted almost 80 years ago on the black schist soils under the Queribus castle near the village of Maury in Roussillon.

It has an intensely aromatic quality with rich fruit aromas of melon and pear, as well as herb and spice notes. The palate is textured and broad with rich melon and herb flavours. Delicious. In fact it's so good that the neighbours of Domaine Jones decided to ensure there would be no vintage to follow this, as Laura wrote about back in April in her "A Friend In Need" post.

Domaine Jones 2011 Cotes Catalanes is available from The Wine Society for £13.95 per bottle.

El Escoces Garnacha DO Calatayud Dos Deos de Frente is a special find (despite the long name). This is 100% Grenache, known locally as Garnacha, from Spain. It has upfront aromas of intense black fruit, with delicious toasted oak aromas followed by hints of violet.

It is a more full bodied wine with some robust tannins but it has really well balanced acidity making it a beautifully structured wine. It has hints of vanilla which follow on from raspberry and herb flavours.

So that should give you plenty of inspiration to enjoy International Grenache Day to its fullest tonight!

Header image taken from Domaine des Crès Ricards's under the creative commons license.

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