When you decide it's time for a little Saturday Sips action, do you drink Grenache? While yesterday was the official International Grenache Day, it's not too late to celebrate. So for one weekend, put your pinot away and say "see ya" to your cab. This Saturday we raise a glass to celebrate Grenache!
While it's easy to get comfortable buying the same wines each week, it's good every now and then to have a reason to get out and explore a new varietal. I decided to take advantage of International Grenache Day to learn more about this grape and try a few new bottles of wine.
Here are five things I learned about Grenache this week:
It goes by many names. Grenache can be hard to find because it can go by many names. While some bottles clearly list Grenache on the label, others may call it by one of its other names (like Cannonau, Alicante or Tinto among others) or by the region where it was grown like Côtes du Rhone from France or Prioriat from Spain.
You've probably already tasted it. While you may not have bought a bottle of grenache before, the flavor will likely be familiar. Grenache is commonly used in blends to give wines that soft mouth feel that makes many blends easy to drink. You may has tasted a GSM blend which is a mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
It grows around the world. Grenache is the most widely planted red grape in the world! From the south of France to Spain, Australia to the California coast, grenache thrives where there is sun and a Mediterranean climate.
It's an eco-friendly grower. Grenache vines are drought-resistant & adaptable, self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Their deep roots rely on subterranean water tables, making them less susceptible to decreased rainfall and global warming. So we may be drinking more and more grenache as the world heats up.
It goes with everything. Juicy and full of fruit without being too jammy, warm and spicy while still being approachable and not too acidic, grenache pairs easily with a wide variety of foods from salmon and trout to grilled and stewed meats. In other words, your new favorite wine for fall.
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I like how Eric Guido, Snooth wine expert described grenache: "Grenache is fun to drink and easy to understand. Grenache is a late ripening grape that’s very high in sugar, which usually results in a high alcohol levels and a smooth mouth-feel. Yet, it’s also very low in tannin and acid." Yes please!
So I headed to my favorite local wine shop where I passed by a number of blends until I found this Barrel 27 Rock and a Hard Place Grenache to test out with some BBQ chicken. I don't love super jammy wines, but this grenache had just enough fruit and spicy to make it interesting without overwhelming you with every sip. It worked just as well on its own as it did with the chicken and later in the evening with dark chocolate almonds (I wanted to be thorough in my testing.)
So, take some time this weekend to raise a glass and celebrate - and perhaps even taste for the first time - the grenache grape. And don't forget to The Shopping Mama has some great sips recommendations too!