Compared to its European counterparts, Grenache doesn't get much love in the American wine landscape, but at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, wine expert Anthony Giglio lobbied to change that. Giglio hosted a seminar titled "The Great Grenache Smackdown!" that encouraged attendees to taste the difference between various Grenache wines from around the world. During the course of our education, I learned four key facts about the lesser-known Grenache grape. Find out what they are when you keep reading.
- A Grenache by any other name . . . Grenache is also known as Garnacha in Spain, Garnatxa in Catalonia, and Cannonau in Sardinia.
- Grenache is in many other blends. Those include but are not limited to Côtes du Rhône wines, where they are the dominant grape in reds and rosés; Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, where they are one of the region's 18 grape varieties (and one of the most prominent); and in American and Australian Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre reds (known also as "GSM blends"). They're also blended with Carignan to create Spain's famous Priorat wines.
- Grenache has some distinct flavor characteristics. "When drinking Grenache, you'll taste raspberry a lot of times," Giglio said. Other attributes? Silky tannins and aromas of black and cherry fruit, olive, prune, and fig.
- When it comes to Grenache value, look to the Spaniards. "There are no greater values for quality than Spain!" Giglio declared. "A $10 wine from Spain would be equivalent to a $40 wine from France." Vino Español lovers: look for Grenache in Rioja, Priorat, Campo de Borja, and Cariñena, among other places.
What do you think of Grenache wines?