Ever heard of International Grenache Day, which takes place each year on the third Friday of September? Well now you have! In fact, this coming Friday 18th will be the eleventh time Grenache fans will be raising a glass to the red grape varietal.
Launched in 2010, the Grenache Association has been trying to raise our awareness. Originating in the northern Spanish region of Aragon, Grenache Noir is widely planted across Southern France, the Rhône and beyond, including in the New World. However, while the grape's reputation is improving globally, it remains somewhat undervalued. The good news is that there are still many fabulous and affordable wines for us to enjoy.
Grenache Noir is often characterised by sweet, ripe red berry flavours, particularly raspberry and strawberry, but also cherry and peppery spice. Additionally, it can show touches of stewed fruit, leather, tar and dried herbs depending on how and where it's made. It's a late ripening, hardy, thin-skinned, pale-coloured grape with low tannins and low-to-medium acidity that thrives in hot, dry conditions. Because of its long growing season, berries develop high sugar levels which can produce wines with high alcohol, even above 15% ABV. Grenache Noir has many synonyms, including Garnacha in Spain and Cannonau in Sardinia.
This great value Spanish red wine comes from a co-operative in Campo de Borja D.O., northwest of the city of Zaragoza, in the shadow of the Moncayo mountain range. Harvested from 40 year-old vines. It's available nationwide from the Co-op for a lip-smackingly good £5.35. It's suitable for vegetarians and vegans and the ABV is 14%.
Sarah Benson, wine buyer at Co-op explains further. "Grenache is a grape which we are increasingly trying to bring in, as it is more sustainable to a change in the weather. It survives high heat, while being a lot less needy of water. We work with two co-ops to produce our Co-op Garnacha from old vines that are an average of 40 years old and are traditional bush vines that have to be harvested by hand. It takes a whole vine to produce one bottle. It is important for us to keep this viticulture alive and protect these old vines. This wine is a fruity style that's great for sharing with friends at BBQs, but we have also introduced more elegant styles of Grenache. For example, Davida is lighter in style and offers an alternative to Pinot Noir for those wanting to appreciate the low tannins and red fruit driven qualities of Grenache."
Nose: Notes of red berries and cherries with a gentle hint of chocolate and nutmeg.
Palate: A smooth red wine, full of juicy, ripe black cherries, raspberries and strawberries with a touch of black pepper and a good balance of acidity and tannin.
Food Match: perfect for BBQ meat, lamb burgers, bangers & mash, macaroni cheese or lentil bake.
Co-op's Old Vine Garnacha is a great way to support the Grenache Association's efforts to educate and promote this delicious red grape varietal. It's also amazing value, so if you want to buy a bottle for your dinner this Friday, you know where to go!
More information on International Grenache Day #GrenacheDay can be found here.