A Grape with Panache: Grenache
The best Grenache wines exhibit a full body and plenty of personality so much so that they may forego food altogether and be enjoyed on their own. The Grenache grape is grown mainly in France’s Rhone valley, Spain, and California. Considered to be one of the most popularly planted varieties in the world, Grenache is sometimes said to have a raspberry-like aroma and flavor. The following article details the Grenache grape as well as some top-notch Grenache wines.
In France, the southern Rhone is well-known for its good quality, yet affordable wines. For this reason, Grenache is popularly grown here and bottles range around the ten dollar mark. In Spain, where it is believed to have originated, and Portugal, Grenache is widely planted and is often added to the red wines of Rioja for its intense fruity flair. Grenache is grown intermittently in California, but is best known there for its excellent quality. Coming in black, gray, and white varieties, the standard pick is generally the black grape. Used to make red wines, it is sometimes used as the main grape for red blends as well.
Most Grenache connoisseurs prefer to pair Grenache with hearty meals like beef stews or lamb dishes. Stews, in particular, tend to bring out the spicy character Grenache is beloved for. It is not considered a summer wine, because its robust character is generally paired with heavier foods reserved for cool weather. Mild Grenache wines are sometimes paired with goose or duck.
In the ten to fifteen dollar price range look for a bottle of the following: Guigal Tavel Rose, Jaboulet Cotes du Rhone, Rabbit Ridge Grenache, or McDowell Valley Vineyards Grenache Rose. If you want to splurge for a top-notch bottle of Grenache, go with a bottle of Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone, but be prepared to spend around $150. Look for Grenache to emerge more popularly from Australian vineyards soon as wine makers down under continue to rave about the virtues of this grape.