Pinot Noir gets all the attention for lighter reds to drink and Grenache is almost always overlooked when deciding on a bottle!
Grenache is a thin-skinned grape that loves hot, dry climates. Its origin is in Spain where it shows the most genetic diversity. It is also genetically unstable, where the color of the grapes can change on the vine! While Spain is the origin of the grape, Grenache makes its home in the south of France and as the star grape of southern Rhone.
The Rhone Valley – France
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the premiere region for Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Up to 18 different varietals can be used in the region to make wine, but Grenache is the star of the show. This red-fruited wine is deeply complex and loaded with tons of nuance and layers of flavor.
Outside the area is the Cotes du Rhone AOC. These wines can come from anywhere in the Rhone Valley and are Grenache dominant as well. These wines offer some of the best value in all of France. The same producers of the iconic wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape also make a Cotes du Rhone bottling at a fraction of the cost without sacrificing quality.
Priorat — Spain
Spain’s premiere growing region for Grenache is in Priorat, 100km southwest of Barcelona. The vineyards here are little islands in the sky with slate dominating the soil. Here, Grenache shows true depth of flavor and power in the wine. Eric Soloman has been the champion for Priorat and has created the Black Slate label to showcase what each village in Priorat does best. These wines are made by the best winery in the village and designed to hit a restaurant wine list for about $15 a glass.
What I am drinking:
2017 Chateau Pegau Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Maclura
Bright purple. Aromas of ripe dark berries, licorice and smoked meat, with a peppery top note adding vibrancy. Chewy, tightly focused blackberry and bitter cherry flavors are lifted by juicy acidity. Aeration brings out more sweetness, which carries through a taut, youthfully tannic finish.
2017 La Conreria d’Scala Dei Priorat Black Slate Escaladei
Black Slate Escaladei, is a blend of Garnatxa, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Carinyena sourced from the foothills of the Montsant mountains. It stands out among its Black Slate siblings as the most elegant of the lineup being inclined more towards red fruit than black, with a high-toned minerality and spiciness.
Banner and feature images of Priorat vineyard courtesy Pixabay.com
Adam Arlen: “I am passionate about wine because it is history in a bottle.” He is the sommelier for The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC. Originally from Allentown, PA, he believes you should always branch out and find new things. His goal is to never stop learning and continuing to grow both personally and professionally. A fun fact about him: “I was a nuclear engineer on a submarine in a previous life.”
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