Grenache – the unsung hero
Posted on February 28 2015
Welcome to the world of Grenache Noir – once the world’s most widely planted red grape, whose fame rested largely on its ability to beef up wines with its own high levels of alcohol – strength rather than subtlety if you will. Yet, in the hands of a skillful grower, and especially from very old bush vines, Grenache can give incredibly appealing, hedonistically soft and fruity wines.
Grenache – or more properly Garnacha, is Spanish in origin and spread north over the Pyrenees into the Roussillon when that region belonged to Spain in times past. It still dominates the Mediterranean, popping up in Sardinia as Cannonau, all along the Languedoc, in Spain’s north eastern vineyards and the southern Rhone, where it’s the backbone of all Cotes du Rhone blends and core of many a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In the New World it thrives in Australia and California. It’s a heat-loving grape, but produces its finest and most long-lived wines in cooler vintages of warm regions when its trademark red fruit aromas retain fresh rather than jammy fruit character.
In our rush to embrace the seductive delights of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet and Malbec, Grenache has been over-looked. We aim to redress that omission and re-acquaint you with its pleasures. Over the weekend of March 6th, 7th and 8th, the Kew, Chiswick and Esher shops will have a fine selection of Grenache based wines open for you to try. We’ve also put together a specially selected case of 12 wineswhich show just how Grenache can be great. It’s available throughout March for £180 – a saving of £27.50.
And, in case you need any further encouragement to come along and join the Grenache party, we leave you with the great Oz Clarke’s description of the grape:“Grenache is for me the wild, wild woman of wine, the sex on wheels,
the devil take the hindmost, the don’t say I didn’t warn you.” “Grapes and Wines” 2008