Grenache: The Perfect Wine ‘Committee Member’

grenacheHave you ever served on a committee, perhaps at your place of employment or for a charitable endeavor?

Were you ever tempted to quit the committee because somebody on it, while they exhibited creative thinking and had good ideas, was just too pushy?

I’ve certainly been there.

I was thinking about this last night while outlining today’s blog in my head. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that among winegrape varieties, Grenache would make the perfect committee member.

Let me explain…

For generations, Grenache has been a key ingredient in the wonderful red blends of the Rhone — blends that typically consist of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. More recently, that blending model has been embraced by Aussie vintners, many of whom simply refer to such wines as “G-S-M.”

Think of the components of the blend as members of a committee. Grenache brings body and fruitfulness to the table, but without aggressive tannins — positive traits all.

Grenache also makes an excellent “committee of one” — that is, a 100% varietal wine. Such wines typically exhibit enticing berry aromas and flavors, including raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, etc.

Vinesse has assembled a sampler pack that includes the best of both Grenache worlds — 100% varietal versions and a delicious twist on the traditional French blend, one that substitutes Cabernet Sauvignon for the Syrah and Mourvedre components. You can read more about those wines here.

Meanwhile, here are five additional fascinating facts about Grenache:

  1. France and Spain produce more Grenache than all other countries. In Spain, it goes by the name of Garnacha.
  1. Warm, dry climates are best for growing Grenache grapes. The variety requires a long growing season, and typically is among the last varieties to be harvested each year — just before grapes earmarked for sweet “late harvest” wines.
  1. Many renditions of Grenache have a nice spice component that makes the wine an ideal pairing partner for meats with spice rubs and an array of ethic fare.
  1. Back in the 1600s, vintners in the Burgundy region of France often used Grenache from the Rhone to “beef up” their Pinot Noir wines. Once France adopted its appellation system, however, that practice became illegal.
  1. Nobody knows for sure — so I guess you couldn’t really call this a fascinating “fact” — but there are said to be about 12,000 acres of Grenache vines planted in China.

But while we’re waiting for China to start producing world-class wines, the varietal Grenache wines and Grenache blends currently being crafted around the world make for ideal dinner companions… not to mention “committee members.”


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Posted in Wine in the Glass
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