Grenache is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world and is again gaining popularity after a period of decline in the 1990s. It does exceptionally well in warm, dry and windy areas, partly because it takes a long time to ripe. The result is normally a very fruity wine which is relatively sweet.
It doesn’t necessarily age well, unless grown on poor soils and with a focus on quality rather than quantity. Chateauneuf du Pape, which typically contains a large percentage of Grenache, is an excellent example hereof and I have frequently tried Grenache wines from over 20 years old that still tasted amazing.
The grape is also tremendously popular in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha. It is generally assumed that this is where the grape originates from, although Sardinians claim that it comes from their island.
Last week I was so lucky to open a bottle of La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo from Proyecto Garnachas de España. The idea behind this “project” was to celebrate Grenache from Spain by making wines from this variety in three different parts of the country to demonstrate how the soil and climate have an influence on the end result. Now, I would love to try all three next to each other someday, but I definitely enjoyed just this one from the Ebro Valley which matured on new French oak for 5 months.
It boasted an impressive nose with finesse, ensuring a fun evening taking out my Le Nez du Vin aroma samples to make sure I got my tasting notes right for you. La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo can be bought at Majestic in the UK, but is also distributed in many other European countries. At £8.99 this is quite simply a bargain!
Region: Ribera del Queiles
Wine: La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo
Producer: Proyecto Garnachas de España, Vintae
Appearance: somewhere between light purple and red
Nose: dominated by black fruit, including blackcurrant, bilberry and blackberry, also a bit of raspberry, prune and violet; truffle, cedar, clove, pepper and chocolate; the oak aging has given it toast, caramel and furfural
Taste: not too sweet in the beginning, then a leathery arome de bouche, not very thick in structure, yet enough body with pleasant tannin and a caramel aftertaste with some alcohol which lingers on for quite long
Winose rating: ★★★★★