Happy International Grenache Day! Grenache Day is celebrated on the 3rd Friday of September each year.
It still surprises us how many folks will tell us they’ve never had a Grenache before. True story, happens all the time. But when we inquire if they’ve ever had Provençal Rosé, or a Cotes du Rhone, they reply “yes” – unbeknownst to them that the major player in those wines is actually Grenache.
Grenache (a.k.a. Garnacha) is one of the most widely planted grapes the world over, and due to its late ripening, it loves hot, dry climates much like those found in Southern France, Spain, and Southern California.
One of the defining variety characteristics of Grenache is berry-like flavors ranging in the strawberry and raspberry spectrum. That’s where those wonderful strawberry flavors come from in Rosé from Provence, and it’s the major player in the Southern Rhone blends, complimenting the pepper-like quality that Syrah brings, and the meaty, gamey quality that Mourvèdre showcases.
There is a white variation, simply called Grenache Blanc, that makes Grenache a grape that can be experienced in any style, from white to Rosé to red blends and as a single varietal wine. There are very bold, extracted expressions from Southern France (Gigondas immediately comes to mind), Very expensive, robust expressions from Southern California (Sine Qua Non, anyone?), and lighter, more elegant styles from parts of Spain. Grenache based Rosés go from pale salmon, light and minerally driven to rich colored and strawberry-forward fruited expressions, dry to sweet in the residual sugar spectrum. And Grenache Blanc can go from unoaked medium bodied white expressions to fully oaked robust expressions, much like oaked California Chardonnay.
So, today, choose your pick of the litter of expressions of this wonderful grape, and enjoy some Grenache alongside us, cheers!