Grenache is a medium bodied red wine with moderate acidity, and bright red fruit and strawberry flavors. The tannin structure can range from light and smooth to more pronounced and firm depending on the climate in which it is grown. Grenache is a wonderful and versatile varietal all on it’s own, but its claim to fame is its use as one of the fundamental grapes in the highly regarded French Rhone blend Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Here are capsule reviews of Grenache wines you may find along the Wine Road.
The 2021 Armida Grenache from Chalone Vineyard is an aromatic delight with black cherry, strawberry pie and a pleasing spicy, meaty note akin to that of Slim Jim on the nose. On the palate sugarplum and ripe strawberry flavors are boosted with a hint of acidity in the guise of red apple skin. Smooth and diffuse tannins bring the bright red fruit flavors along with savory fig to a soft and satisfying crescendo. Pair with spicy pork dumplings.
The CAST 2020 Grenache from Anax Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is perfumed with candied plums, lavender, violet and cherry vanilla with a base note of dried strawberry wafting to the fore. In the glass it shines with bright notes of strawberry, licorice, and orange peel. Secondary notes of spice and smoked meat evolve as it opens. Great texture and body with soft sandy tannins and a pop of bright acidity that gives it balance and bounce. Pair with spicy pomegranate roasted carrots and lentils with Tahini dressing.
The David Coffaro 2021 Grenache from Dry Creek Valley is like stepping into a floral shop that also sells confectionaries. It has a wonderful scent of spun sugar, raspberry jam, lavender, black cherry and warm vanilla. On the palate flavors are equal parts juicy and savory with notes of bright juniper, strawberry, spicy Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and fig newton. Complex and delicious with a long dry finish. Pair with classic pork roast.
The Colagrossi 2021 Grenache from Moon Mountain District, Sonoma is a veritable moon shot to the heart of flavor. On the nose an enticing scent of sandalwood with savory notes of blueberry pie, black tea, and a touch of white pepper. On the palate notes of Mexican chocolate, warm fig newton, rhubarb, and nutmeg. Nice overall balance and texture with great length of finish. Pair with a hearty Moroccan lamb stew.
The Jeff Cohn Cellars 2018 Grenache from El Diablo Vineyard in Russian River Valley gives me all the feels. The distinct bright scent and flavor of dried strawberry triggered an immediate sense memory of Capt’n Crunch Crunch Berries, strawberry flavored cereal from my childhood. Each sip of this Grenache brought me back to the crunch berries, albeit in a highly elevated form. Additionally, there is a lovely interplay of herbal notes with rosemary and sage on the nose. On the palate, bright and juicy notes of pomegranate, blueberry, red plum and candied red grapefruit. Lush yet balanced with a long and satisfying finish. Pair with a nostalgic food from your childhood.
The Mounts 2019 Grenache from Dry Creek Valley unfolds in the glass with scents of Herbs de Provence, dusty cedar-sage, mocha and dried strawberry. On the palate a rich and luxurious mouth feel with flavors of blackberry, chocolate cherry cordial and something quite exotic that reminds me of a cinnabar chanterelle – with a bright fruity, and orange peel notes. This is an elegant and compelling Grenache with loose knit sandy tannins that carry it all to the finish with grace. Pair with Liberty duck with cherry sauce.
The Peterson Winery 2017 GSM, Dry Creek Valley is a blend of 50% Grenache, 33% Syrah and 17% Mourvedre. On the cork you will notice a promise to the drinker with the words: nullus mortuus vina — which translates as no soulless wine—and this Grenache makes good on that promise. The nose is warm and spicy with scents of black cherry, blueberry, blackberry pie and chaparral aka garrigue. On the palate, a plush mouthfeel, with rich flavors of raspberry, dried strawberry, sweet tobacco and recurrence of the chaparral note that presents to my palate as spicy pickle juice, which I quite liked! It has a wonderful complexity but remains approachable with balanced tannin, acidity and fruit. Pair with grilled pork chops and mango chutney.