52 Weeks of Wine – Week 19: Grenache (Garnacha) (March 2nd-8th 2019)

Grenache

In the past, whenever I’ve thought of Grenache, the word “ganache” comes to mind, mostly because the predominately Grenache red wine blends that I have tasted are rich and luxurious like a chocolate ganache. So, this week’s tasting was a bit of a surprise when I poured the Garnacha (a Spanish Grenache) into my glass and saw the lightness in color and body.

I knew that the three main varietals in the traditional French red wine blend, GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) couldn’t all be rich, full-bodied, fruit-forward varietals, but I assumed that because Grenache is the predominant varietal in the blend, it would mostly have those attributes. Interestingly, this Garnacha had quite contrasting attributes!

I’m not a winemaker but when I think of the yin and yang that must be combined to obtain balance in a blended wine, I begin to understand the smoothness and soft finish that comes from a GSM when Grenache is included. I discussed the look of the wine: light red in color and thin in body. The smell had a hint of a late harvest trait with a mild sweetness, but predominant tart cherry, oak, tobacco and a smell that I couldn’t associate with anything but a rubber band. As for the flavor, this is where I began to appreciate the science and mystery behind wine making: the flavor seemed very sharp upon the first sip. The wine has high acidity, prominent tart cherry notes and a hint of leather. I let this wine breathe for a few minutes initially but determined that it needed more time – which was a great decision! The sharpness mellowed with breathing. Though this wine was a little “rough around the edges” for my taste, I am imagining it’s pairing with a fruit-forward Syrah and can taste in my mind the balance of a great GSM.

This wine has an average cost of $14-18. I gave it a 3 out of 5 cork rating.

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