There is no doubt that the Grenache grape variety is capable of producing top echelon wine. Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a prime example and I would also add to that the Sucette Grenache from Vine Vale of southern Barossa Valley, Australia. There are far more so-so Grenache based grapes being grown & produced and like with all categories of wines, it really is about sifting through the onslaught of possibilities and finding the gems. Here are four very interesting renditions. I believe each will give tasters a perspective on what this venerable grape variety can be.
2015 Cirillo Grenache “The Vincent”–One of very top Grenache specialists from Australia. What separates this wine from many of its peers is its wonderful savoriness. The Vincent is a thank you to my father who has passed eight generations of Italian winemaking & grape growing knowledge down to the ninth. This Grenache is produced from two 100+ year old vineyards, which are predominately sand, from the renowned Barossa Valley of Australia”. This wine deftly combines The inherent fruitiness of this unique Grenache with the innate vinosity of these old vines & transparency & core of minerality highlighted by the predominately sandy soils the vines grow in.
2016 Tres Ojos “Old Vines”–A very delicious, charming old vine Grenache based “country” styled red wine from Calatayud in northern Spain. The warm climate and loose, rocky soils work together to make this a perennial Great Value.
2015 Gramenon Vinsobres “La Papesse”–Gramenon is truly one of the champions of uber-sustainable vineyard work, bordering fanatical and are renown internationally reverently for their beliefs AND their resulting wines. The La Papesse bottling is produced from 100% 60+ year old Grenache vines grown in a small enclave in northern part of the southern Rhone valley named Vinsobres. Typically for me, this is the star bottling as it deftly displays a very provocative transparency and profound vinosity and savoriness.
2017 Giovanni Montisci Cannonau de Sardegna “Barossu”–Is Cannonau in fact Grenache? To some yes, even in Sardegna they say it is the same, but I, on the other hand, would say they are related. In any case, this producer, his vineyards and his wines were one of the real standout visits during a long, pretty comprehensive wine trip to the islands of Corsica and Sardegna late last Fall. I wouldn’t say they are Grand Cru in their intent. His wines have a deliberate-ness, a core of old vine-ness, savoriness and soul that stirs one’s gut and moves you. Grown high up the hills of Mamoiada, this real garage-ist is one to definitely keep an eye on. I place it along with the most unique, memorable, artisanal wines of our 40 plus year journey. We have been waiting along time for its arrival and here is your chance to try it.
There you have it, four really interesting renditions of what Grenache can be.