Until recently, I didn’t realize that there were days dedicated to grape varieties. It’s kinda weird but I kinda like it! I felt horrible when I missed Cabernet Sauvignon Day on September 1 of this year and vowed I would never miss another (just kidding—I already know that I will). Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across International Grenache Day scheduled to go down on September 23. I needed to make sure that I captured that day and let our readers know about it. My only abiding question is whether International Grenache Day is a celebration of all Grenache (there is a white wine made from Grenache Blanc) or just red. As I am unsure, DOTW is going to weigh in and say love them all (we do live in San Francisco, the epicenter of the free love movement).
Some of you may love Grenache while others may not even know they drink it. Grenache (the red grape) is the unsung hero in the Southern Rhone Valley and much of Spain (where it’s known as Garnacha). Some Grenache fun facts, Garnacha in Spain was once known as Tinto Aragones (Red of Aragones) – it just sounds cool. Grenache makes some of the best rose wines in the world (Tavel from the Southern Rhone Valley and the wonderful roses from Provence and Spain). Grenache was one of the first varieties planted in Australia and was the most planted grape until it was passed by Australia’s most famous grape, Syrah, in the 1960’s. Grenache is one member of the GSM trio, along with Syrah and Mouvedre, with fine examples produced in the Southern Rhone Valley, Australia and the United States.
Like me, Grenache loves hot weather. It’s a late ripening grape and needs lots of sun and warmth to fully ripen. Grenache tends to make some easy drinking wines with medium acidity and body and that have red fruit, such as cherries, raspberries and strawberries. However, Old Vine Grenache and Grenache produced in from vines that bear little fruit, tend to produce more complex, concentrated wines that have black fruit, such as blackberries, black cherry, black currants and brambleberries, cocoa, coffee and tar. Grenache can run the gamut.
I also find Grenache to be a good value wine. The Southern Rhone Valley, Provence, Spain and Australia offer value and they produce good wine based on Grenache or a blend that includes Grenache. Additionally, the Paso Robles Valley (and the Central Coast in general) in California is producing very fine Grenache based wines that are affordable. So, on International Grenache Day, head to your favorite wine shop, pick up some Grenache, pop the top and try some.
If you are looking for some Grenache wines to try, I would give the Beckman Vineyards out of Los Olivos, Feraud-Brunel 2009 Cotes du Rhone Village from France, a rose from Tavel or Spain or a GSM from Australia a try.