545 Wine Tasting – The Different Faces of Grenache

We are big fans of Grenache in all of its permutations.  From the typically fruity styled wines from Spain to the more peppery and herbaceous ones from the south of France, we are suckers for this prolific varietal.  Grenache vines can get very old, sometimes over 100 years (see the picture) and yield wines with an amazing variety and complexity of flavors.  It’s amazing that the same grape can yield such different flavors depending upon where it grows.  Join us on Friday, June 15 from 4 to 7 p.m., as we explore Grenache in all of its glory.  Come taste 5 of them for $5……….free if you’re a Grape Nut.

1. 2011 Eric Texier Cotes du Rhone Blanc (Rhone Valley, France) – Many of you probably didn’t know that there was a white version of Grenache, but there is.  This wine is composed of roughly 80% of that varietal with smaller amounts of Clairette and Roussanne, and it comes from one of our favorite producers in the southern Rhone.  It sees zero oak aging and pops with fresh citrus fruits and honeysuckle on the nose and palate.

2. 2011 Bodegas Borsao Grenache Rosé (Campo de Borja, Spain) – Year in and year out, Bodegas Borsao makes some of the best wine values on the planet, and this is definitely one of them.  This is their dry Rosé interpretation of Grenache and is a lively, fresh wine with notes of juicy cherry, strawberry and citrus fruits.  Simple, but delicious and refreshing, this one loves fresh seafood, grilled chicken and summer vegetables.

3. 2006 Montecastillo Priorat Crianza (Priorat, Spain) – The Priorat region is located along Spain’s northeastern coast, south of Barcelona, and Garnacha (as the Spanish call it) loves the rocky, slatey soils of the region.  This wine also blends in some Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon and sees some aging in American oak.  The resulting wine is smooth and nicely balanced, with black cherry and plum fruit along with notions of vanilla and spice.

4. 2010 Eric Texier Cotes du Rhone Rouge (Rhone Valley, France) – Vintage 2010 proved to be a very successful one in the southern Rhone marked by warm, sunny conditions and a seamless growing season.  Grenache thrives under these conditions, and Eric Texier decided to go 100% varietal with his wine in this vintage.  Thank you Eric!  This is what southern French wine is all about – loads of wild berry fruit, pepper and herbes de Provence.  My mouth is watering just thinking about this wine with some grilled lamb.

5. 2010 Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon (Languedoc/Roussillon, France) – We’ll finish with another 2010 from southern France, and this one received a 94 point score from The Wine Advocate.  Skillfully crafted by the Chapoutier family, this one blends about 60% Grenache with equal parts Syrah and Carignan.  It is a full bodied, structured, slightly funky effort with ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with hints of licorice, olive and peppery spice.

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