The "Most" Unknown Grape
According to vineyard statistics assembled by Patrick W. Fegan of the Chicago Wine School, the most widely planted red wine grape in the world is Grenache A.K.A. Garnacha. Surely Miles from "Sideways" would be happy it isn't Merlot, but many of us are very unfamiliar with this wonderful grape.
Due to its thin skin and tendency to produce lots of alcohol, Grenache based wines tend to have plenty of body without all the bitter tannins associated with many other full bodied wines. Gobs of strawberry and black cherry beckon and lead one down a honeyed path of spice and ginger. This is the party animal of the wine world.
Appearing to have originated in Spain, Garnacha has spread across the world and is grown in all major red wine producing regions. In its native Spain it is used in Rioja, Navarra and our featured wine region from last week, Montsant. In France it is grown widely throughout the south and makes major contributions to Chateau-neuf-du-Pape, Cotes-du-Rhone, Gigondas and Lirac.
While fruit forward red wine blends seem to be all the rage lately, the Australians have been using Grenache in blends with Shiraz and other partners for years to make intense, jammy, spicy blends. These GSMs, as they are known, are just more entries amongst the pantheon of great wines attributed to this wild woman of the grape world.
Feel free to be entied by this temptress and sample her wild wares. Don't forget you were warned as you get swept away by these suggestions.
2009 Chateau Pesque Cotes du Ventoux des Terrasses
90 Points Robert Parker This dense ruby/purple-colored wine offers up scents of licorice, black cherries, raspberries, pepper and meat juices. Medium to full-bodied with a structured, well delineated mouthfeel, good freshness, a heady finish, and firm, but well balanced tannins. Only 13.99!
2009 Langmeil, Three Garden SGM
90 Points Wine Spectator A velvety red, melding raspberry, plum and spice flavors harmoniously as the finish expands, while remaining fresh and lively.Only 18.99!
2008 Cellar Besllum, Besllum
93 Points Robert Parker The 2008 Besllum is composed of 45% Garnacha, 45% Carinena, and 10% Syrah aged for 16 months in new French oak. Also deeply colored, it displays an alluring bouquet of wood smoke, exotic spices, incense, lavender, blueberry, and black Cherry. In the glass it displays opulence, loads of sweet fruit, and outstanding volume. Only 15.99!
2008 Yalumba, Grenache Barossa Bush Vine
90 Points Wine Spectator Bright and juicy, with appealing focus to the raspberry, red cherry and rhubarb fruit, sailing serenely over the polished texture of the open finish. Only 18.99!