International Grenache Day
By Missa Capozzo
International Grenache Day is celebrated annually on the third Friday of September. According to DaysOfTheYear.com, The Grenache Association established Grenache Day to celebrate this grape and all the varieties and vintages of wine that were produced from it. In fact, over the ages that have passed since it first began being used and cultivated, new varieties have appeared.
Grenache (known as Garnarcha in Spain) is one of my absolute favorite red grapes. The first time I sipped this varietal was as a Spanish Garnarcha, and I immediately fell in love with its deep, juicy plum and red berry flavors and soft texture upon first sip. Since then, Grenache/Garnarcha has held a very special place in my heart, and it’s a rare day that I see it on a restaurant’s wine list and pass it over.
Grenache/Garnacha is the second most widely planted red grape in the world. How can that be, seeing as so many of us are unaware of its existence? Simply explained, Grenache is one of the world’s most popular blending grapes. Although it is an absolute superstar as a single varietal wine, it is also widely blended with other grapes the world over to provide luscious fruit and to help boost alcohol levels in the finished blend.
Grenache/Garnarcha is the most widely planted red grape in Spain. This grape is also one of the trio, known as “G-S-M,” that comprise many popular Southern Rhone blends in France (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre). Extremely versatile, Grenache is also commonly vinified as a rosé and even a white wine.
Grenache has it all, from juicy blackberry, plum, cherry, strawberry and currant, to spicy black pepper and licorice, as well as floral and earthy notes (think violets and rose petals over tobacco and leather), and when oaked, lends notes of cocoa and vanilla. The soft tannins lend a velvety texture on the palate that even the most fickle can’t help fall in love with.
I find Grenache to be one of those reds I often reach for in the fall months, as the temperature begins to drop and the cool crisp air starts to move in. Not only is it a warm, comforting, silky wine to sip by the fire on a cool evening, but its bold fruit essence and subtle spice pair beautifully with a variety of fall dishes.
Grenache/Garnarcha can stand up to rustic and earthy dishes with game meats, pork, and beef as well as those with tomato sauce, or even hearty paella. Rich sauces and stews make an ideal pairing. Hard cheese and dark chocolate are simple pairings that will make this grape variety shine. Although this full bodied red is a perfect wine for autumn dishes, leading right into and through the holiday season, you’ll find Grenache can be thoroughly enjoyed throughout the year, as its full bodied, bold white versions and fruit forward rosés offer additional options for those who tend to drink seasonally.
Happy Granache Day!
About the Author: Missa Capozzo, CSW, WSET3, FWS, BWSEd is the EVP of Product Development and Sommelier at Worcester’s first and only urban winery, Sail to Trail WineWorks. Throughout her career, she has taught students of all levels of experience and interest in classes, wine dinners, and lifestyle experiences. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, a certified French Wine Scholar (FWS), certified with the Wine and Spirits Trust, Level 3 Advanced (WSET), and a certified educator with Boston Wine School (BWSEd). Her unique combination of talent allows her to translate the nuances of wine for the everyday wine drinker in an accessible and fun way. Demystifying wine and removing the intimidation is her passion when sharing wine with others. When not fully immersed in the world of wine, Missa is a self-proclaimed “obsessed dog mom” to her Boston Terrier, Peyton. http://winedowntastings.com http://www.facebook.com/winedowntastings http://sailtotrail.com ∞