May Wine Club: You say, ‘Garnacha.’ I say, ‘Grenache.’ Let’s call the whole thing spectacular!

May 4, 2017 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

It’s one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and stars in some of the most prestigious wines — Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and even Priorat.  Yet, here we are today where the humble Grenache aka Garnacha grape is still a rarity on restaurant menus and probably in individual wine collections.

This month’s Inspired Wine Club hopes to show what you’ve been missing from your wine glasses that habitually reach for Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Malbec – tasty varietals in their own right, of course.  But Grenache is a worthy wine, and one perfect for so many occasions that it should be recognized for far more than being a frequent component of rosé.

So, this month, we offer a comparison of Grenache and Garnacha. You get to sample a Spanish 100% Garnacha and see how it measures up against the Cotes du Rhone Grenache blend. Honestly, we love them both.  Best of all, they are versatile wines that seemed perfect for seguing from spring to summer.

2015 ReyNoble Garnacha, Navarra, Spain

The Navarra region is better known for its Tempranillo grapes, and this winemaker certainly produces those wines as well.  However, the Garnacha fashioned here is more subtle and jammy, and a fully satisfying quaff for a medium-bodied wine. This unoaked ruby-red wine provides wafts of raspberry, strawberry and red cherry, accented with an earthiness and black pepper.  In this case, the jamminess is of the red berry variety with mineral hints, soft tannins and a long finish. On the palate, the wine is dry, while also tasting fresh.  Perfect for spring.  Perfect for grilled meats, cheeses and even that gourmet Kobe hamburger topped with artisanal reserve bleu cheese. The name, “Rey Noble,” say it all: it’s a wine fit for a king (or queen!).

2012 Le Goeuil Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone, France

This lovely is an example of how Grenache magically makes everything taste even better when it’s the focal point of a red blend.  With a combination of 51% Grenache, 35% Syrah & Mouvrèdre, and 14% Carignan and Counoise, this wine is able to virtually transport you to an Avignon outdoor café in springtime. Of course, this blend will vary year to year, depending on which varietals provide the best taste profile. Because this region is slightly cooler than Navarra, Spain, the wines tend to be lower in alcohol and with an added subtlety. For example, the jamminess here provides twangs of pomegranate or rhubarb along with cherry. You’ll notice smokier or more tobacco-y herbal notes that include an air of Herbes de Provence, especially lavender and oregano. Again, this is a versatile wine, and one that marries well with grilled poultry, such as an herb-roasted game hen with garlic and lemon orzo. Another perfect red wine for the spring!


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