Grenache or Garnacha? – a sampling from France and Spain of this very food friendly grape
With Guest Pourer, founder of wUst Fine Wine Imports, Kevin Wenck
Wine Lineup with Food Pairings
Legende des Toques (Rhone/France) Cotes du Rhone 2017
This delicious Cotes du Rhone is a blend of 71% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 4% Carignan. Aromas include fresh baked bread, plums, and heirloom roses. Flavors are predominantly red fruit based with more pronounced notes of strawberries and raspberries. The wine has a medium body but with a refreshing "saturated" feeling from lots of minerals. Interesting tannins complement the flavors but then melt into a silky finish.
Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, rib eye, short ribs, veal chops, grilled tuna, roast chicken, charcuterie, Asian beef dishes, medium curries, grilled vegetables, and rich vegetable dishes.
Cingles Blaus (Montsant/Spain) Octubre Negre 2016
This tinto "joven" is a blend of 60% Garnacha, 25% Carinena, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. There are intense aromas with a lot of fruit notes along with hints of licorice, red flowers, and fruit aromas such as raspberry, peach and strawberry. Flavors include blackberries, blueberries, and dark cherries. The medium mouthfeel is balanced between a strong core of fruit and its refreshing minerality and acidity. For a "joven" this wine has impressive structure and complexity.
Food pairings would include salmon, grilled shrimp, paella, BBQ ribs, grilled chicken, pasta with meat sauce, tapas, charcuterie, mild Mexican food, Asian pork and vegetable stir fry, Indian Tandoori dishes, grilled vegetables, eggplant parmesan, black beans, pinto beans, and rich cheeses.
Domaine de la Cheneraie (Rhone/France) Beaumes de Venise 2016
There is a little "something extra" in this wine as on my first tasting I recognized the Cote Rotie hints and then verified that they do add some Viognier to the blend each year. In 2016 the blend was 52% Syrah, 43% Grenache, and 5% Viognier and it produces beautiful aromas of baked bread, old roses, rich black fruits, and mild limes. Flavors are framed by black fruits and sweet and well-balanced tannins and include a mix of dried herbs such as basil, rosemary, and sage along with hints of roasted coffee. There is medium body, good balance, and a rich memorable finish.
Food pairings would include Rib Eye steak, roast beef, beef stew, short ribs, veal chop, duck, meaty pasta sauces, fried anchovies, blackened salmon, Asian beef dishes, vegetable stir fry, and hard cheeses.
Cal Grau (Priorat/Spain) La Petite Agnes 2015
This wine is considered the "Crianza" of the estate although Cal Grau prefers to vinify and mature each of their wines according to what is best for each vintage instead of strict schedules. The blend of 50 percent Garnacha and 50 percent Carinena produces initial aromas of violets, dark plums, rich old roses, and cherries but there are also interesting hints of smoky minerals from the broken slate terrain. Flavors are of rich plums, blackberries, blueberries, and dark cherries along with hints of licorice and tobacco. The flavors are actually quite bold but perfectly complemented by the wine's refreshing minerality and firm tannins which flow smoothly across the palate. The medium mouthfeel is also perfectly balanced with very nice acidity.
Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, rib eye steak, wild boar, lamb, beef stew, veal, sausages, Asian beef dishes, pork shoulder, grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, and vegetable stir frys.
Why should you try our wines? First of all, they will be "food friendly" (not like those "fruit bombs" liked by "prestigious" critics which overwhelm the taste of food!). Secondly, they will be interesting and different - a nice switch from yet another bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Thirdly, they will have all been personally selected during my visits to wine producers throughout Europe.