Wine 11: Garnacha

This grape has two personalities, or rather, two names. Originally called garnacha in Spain where it first came from, it’s now more widely known by grenache. Grenache is grown all across the world, and is known for ripening later than other varietals, so it does better in warm/hot and dry climates. Grenache is also commonly used as a blending grape, especially in the ‘GSM’ blends (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, which is absolutely delicious – if you ever get a chance to try the J. Lohr Gesture GSM, TAKE IT!!!)

Garnacha/Grenache traditionally has a medium to full body, medium acidity and tannin, fairly high alcohol content, and is full of fruit aromas and flavors. But you’ll also find some significant differences across regions. You might get a more herb or a bit more baking spice, dark purple fruits like prune and plum or brighter red fruits like strawberry. I feel like a broken record – so I’m sure you think I am too – but it all depends on where the grapes are grown. The climate has a lot to do with it, and if the garnacha/grenache comes from a cooler climate and has a tougher time ripening, you’re probably going to get more of those red fruits on the nose and tongue versus the deeper purple ones. As you can imagine, trying one grenache is like trying one grenache. If it’s not exactly your cup of tea, there’s plenty more options out there. Don’t give up, just try something else!

For this tasting, I decided to get one from the grape’s origin: Spain.

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2015 Evodia Garnacha (though the bottle listed it as a red wine, it was noted as Garnacha in the store and online). I bought this wine while perusing the $10 spot at Thief Wine – what a great buy, and for 15% ABV! I took a peek at the European Cellars website to do a bit more digging and was really impressed to see that they manually harvest their vineyards to produce this wine, which is then fermented and aged in steel tanks and French oak. I love hearing about and drinking wines that maintain that personal touch by hand-clipping the berries for production. It shows that much more effort and energy being put behind the product, and I think exhibits a great pride from the winemakers.

Eric Solomon of European Cellars has quite an interesting background – originally, wanted to be a professional musician – which landed him as a bartender who then advanced through the ranks, ultimately studying at the Institute of Masters of Wine. He founded European Cellars in 1990 and really focused on promoting innovative wineries, focusing initially on France and then expanding to Spain. He’s received a number of accolades throughout the years, and seems to have a knack for making good decisions!

Onto our tasting for the evening:

Still missing my favorite glass which shattered a few weeks ago, I started using my Harry Potter glass, seen above, which we received as a wedding shower gift (SO AWESOME!!). It’s actually an excellent shape and size for a tasting, ensuring I don’t get too heavy on my pour…at least at first!

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Who, What, Where, When Why and How of Evodia….lovin’ the How section!

Appearance: In the glass, this was a medium ruby color, which had slow, thick legs after a good swirl around the glass. It was fairly opaque, so I was guessing a medium to slightly fuller body from the wine.

Nose: Blackcurrant was the most prominent aroma, following by some supporting notes of smokiness, earthiness (maybe mushroom?), and even a burning match/cedar scent (probably a result of the French oak aging). Smelled great, like I wanted to be in front of a crackling fire.

Taste: For sure, a medium-bodied red with higher acidity, and firm tannins. The tannins caught at the back of the tongue and throat a bit, then dissipated. Definitely solid fruit on the palate, bringing in the red and purple fruits.

Overall: I think this was a decent wine, but not necessarily one I’d start keeping stock in. For the price? I’d say worth it. I really enjoyed the fruit flavors, and the smokiness on the nose. Perfect to accompany these still slightly cooler days, but probably not a red I’d be drinking as the weather starts to warm, and I’m sitting out on our balcony. I’ll definitely be trying a grenache from France or Australia, just to get a sense of what else this grape can offer.

Hope you have a great start to your week and are ready for that first day of spring tomorrow!!

¡Salud!

5 thoughts on “Wine 11: Garnacha

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