Grenache is experiencing a renaissance, not just because it was International Grenache Day yesterday. The flavour profile appeals, and the wines are not as heavy and serious as, say, Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. Here are some Grenache and Grenache infused wines I tasted a couple of days ago.
Having said this, the 2010 Chateau de Beaucastel is quite a massive Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This wine is still bright. The raspberry and cranberry flavours shine through. There is licorice as well. The tannins are soft. However, the wine is a little hot on the finish (93 points).
The 2010 Alegre Valgañón Garnacha from Rioja demonstrates some of the challenges with Grenache. This wine has some herbal and eucalypt characteristics, which comes when the wine is picked a bit early out of fear it might get too alcoholic otherwise. The signature raspberry fruit is there, but also some black fruited notes and leather. This is quite a complex wine, mature, and no doubt based on very old vines (94 points).
Marco Cirillo is my favorite Grenache producer in Australia (there are a couple of serious challengers emerging). He has been focused on this variety from the beginning tending to his fabulous sandy soils vineyard in Vine Vale. The 2012 Cirillo 1850 Grenache is based on perhaps the oldest Grenache vines in the world. This wine is hugely perfumed. The raspberry flavours are very clean and pure supported by savoury characteristics. This is a luscious wine with a long finish (96 points).
The 2009 Château de Fonsalette Réservé Côtes du Rhône is the most expensive wine in this line-up. I found it a bit disappointing. While it had a sweet fruit core, the overwhelming impression evolved from vegetable and herbal notes with tomato and anise flavours quite prominant (90 points).
A positive surprise was the 2012 Domaine Léon Barral Faugères 'Jadis'. Faugères is a subregion in the Languedoc with special red sand and limestone soils. The vineyard is biodynamically managed. This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Shiraz, 20% Grenache. This wine is very bright and fresh, with ripe raspberry and dark fruit, and a big mouthfeel. This is quite a funky wine, bold and dense. There is a higher acidity in this wine than in many Grenaches and the tannins are dry. Well managed Carignan appears to be the major contributor to this profile (94 points).