Today, Friday the 18th September, is International Grenache day. While it's unlikely that you need an excuse to drink wine on a Friday, here's some good reasons for making it a glass of Grenache.
Why should you drink it? Chester Osborn of d'Arenberg wines in Australia said; "Once people taste a good Grenache they are converted, but the challenge lies in getting them to try it. As a variety, it has wonderfully fresh, sweet red fruits, beautiful spices and lively tannins. It's a great blending tool, but also makes brilliant single variety wines." Master of Wine Jancis Robinson states that "Grenache is an unlikely hero of a grape".
You may have been drinking Grenache without even realising it; it's one of the most widely planted varietals, being particularly popular in Spain (as Garnacha) and France where it is dominant in many Southern Rhone wines including the delicious (and often expensive) Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
In isolation, Grenache exhibits red fruit flavours of strawberry and raspberry with a spicy / peppery edge. This flavour profile makes it a good blending candidate and is commonly added to Shiraz / Mourvedre often labelled by Australia producers as 'GSM'.
Grenache wines to try:
La Garnacha 2014 Salvaje del Moncayo, Majestic, £7.49 (on offer)
"Powerful aromas of wild berries and tobacco leaf are tempered by a sense of freshness and floral edges. The middleweight palate has ripe red fruit, minerality and subtle French oak."
Blason des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Waitrose, £14.49 (on offer)
Finding decent Châteauneuf-du-Pape at sub £20 is difficult but this is good value for money (it's currently discounted from £22). "Rich texture and spicy red fruit flavours, bursting with heady redcurrant fruit followed by a smooth layer of cherry liqueur and a spicy finish. Best enjoyed with grilled lamb or pork."
Rioja Reserva 2010 CVNE, Majestic, £7.99 (on offer)
This award winning wine is described as "a soft luxurious wine, mid garnet in colour with a lovely brambly nose and a hint of spice. Nuances of warm leather, caramel and coffee over rich autumn fruit. Excellent balance and a lingering finish".