Grenache- Around The World

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Granache From Around The World

[gruh-NAHSH] Grape that comes in both red-wine and white-wine varieties. When used by itself, the word “Grenache” refers to the red version Grenache Noir, one of the world’s most widely cultivated red grapes. The Grenache grape does well in hot, dry regions, and its strong stalk makes it well suited for windy conditions.

It ripens with very high sugar levels and can produce wines with 15 to 16 percent alcohol. Grenache wines are sweet, fruity, and very low in tannins. They’re usually lacking in color, except in growing areas where yields are low. The vine originated in Spain where it’s called Garnacha and Garnacha Tinta (or Garnacho Tinto) and is the most widely cultivated red-wine grape in that country. It’s widely planted in navarra and in many of Spain’s hotter areas including cariñena, la mancha, penedès, rioja and utiel-requena. In southern France not far from the Spanish border, Grenache is widely cultivated in the areas around languedoc-roussillon, provence and the southern rhône.

Also extensively grown in Algeria, Australia, Corsica, Israel, Morocco, Sardinia (where it’s called Cannonau), and California’s central valley. Guarnaccia is a Grenache strain native to southern Italy’s Ischia island, at the entrance to the Bay of Naples. Red Grenache wines are usually blended with those made from other varieties; 100 percent Grenache wines are rarely found. In Spain Grenache is blended with tempranillo, and in most of France it’s blended with cinsaut and carignan. In châteauneuf-du-pape it’s used as the primary grape, although it is blended with as many as twelve other varietals including clairette, mourvèdre, muscadine and syrah. In rosé wines-particularly those from côtes-du-rhône, côtes du ventoux, lirac and tavel-Grenache is often the dominant grape used. In California and Australia, it’s most often used as a blending wine for inexpensive jug wines. Grenache Blanc (or Garnacha Blanca) is the white variety of this grape.

Although not as popular as the red, it’s still widely planted in both Spain and France. The white wines produced are high alcohol and low acidity. Grenache is known by many different names including Alicante, Cannonao (or Cannonau), Carignan Rosso, Granaccia, Granacha, and Roussillon.

REDS:

  • Marco Real, navarra Granache Spain 05
  • Domaine d’Anderon, Cotes Du Rone France 08
  • Yalumba Barossa Valley, Bush Vine Granache Australia 08
  • Herman’s Story, Larner Vineyard California 06

My impressions, were this group was comparing apples to oranges. Each glass/bottle had their own characteristics, so it comes down to a preference, and mine- all of them were great. The California Herman’s won on overall points at our AWS- American Wine Society tasting event. My taste buds lean towards old world, so I did feel if there was a bottle of Domain d’Anderson left on the kitchen table, I would have found room in my pocket book, and quietly steal away into the night!

Food pairing:

  • Smoked Pulled Pork with homemade canned tomato BBQ sauce
  • Yengling Beer ‘Butt’ Chicken, whole
  • Roasted White and Peruvian Fingerling Potatoes and Squash
  • Cheese Cake
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Maple Brown Sugar Cured Bacon with chocolate, in homemade ice cream

Food Pairing Notes: The fat of the chicken was most notable with its perfect pairing with the California Grenache, as the fat helped balance out the tannic ‘cheekiness’, and this wine could have aged a bit longer. Most all other foods went well with the wines as courses were served, another notable pairing was the Rose with Strawberry Salad!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling & Adrienne Turner were in attendance and contributed food!

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