Grenache, Garnacha, Côtes-du-Rhône…Help!
Raise your hand if you need a glass, okay let’s be real, a bottle of wine after this week? Tasting Thursday’s got your back!
This week we’re talking about the grenache grape with 2 European wines, a French 2018 Dames de Bonpas Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu and a Spanish 2017 Proyecto Garnachas La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo. Notice neither have grenache in the name? Garnacha is simply the Spanish word for grenache, and grenache is the predominant grape of the Côtes-du-Rhône wines.
So what should we expect from a grenache wine? You’ll typically smell some red fruit, cinnamon, and perhaps tobacco. You’ll often taste that fruitiness plus tobacco, leather, oak, maybe dried herbs or licorice. It’s often medium-full bodied, medium tannins, medium acidity, and high alcohol. Warmer climates like Spain will have higher spice, body, and alcohol. It’s going to be a great wine to drink with meat or spicy foods.
Let’s start with our Côtes-du-Rhône. This one is from Southern Rhône, which is the majority of CDR wine, often blended with Syrah and Mourvedre. Immediately you’ll smell the bold pepper and candied blackberry, very typical grenache. Smooth with medium tannins. Dry and bold with medium-full body, medium plus acid, and heat coming from medium plus alcohol. This one could use a little more balance and would be a good candidate to age more and to decant. Not overly jammy but definitely fruity, complemented with earthiness, cinnamon, and dried herbs. Smooth finish but not complex. I’d recommend drinking this wine with dinner.
You may have heard of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is the most famous and most expensive CDRs and grenaches. Grenache there and in other regions can go for several hundred $$, so keep an eye out for good values with this grape.
Now onto our Garnacha from Spain, which is where the grape originated. It’s a little lighter in color than our Côtes-du-Rhône. Smelling plum, honey, and a little oak. Medium body and velvety, tasting of more fruit and oak with a hint of pepper lingering. Medium tannins. Medium plus acid. Fruity but off dry with high alcohol.
Cheers to making it through so far, y’all!