Ten tasty Catalan Grenaches for #GrenacheDay
by Miquel Hudin | 18-09-2020
In case you actually needed an excuse to open up a bottle of Grenache, today, September 18th, is International Grenache Day! A celebration of all things that this red (as well as white, pink, and hairy) grape offers the world.
While Grenache is produced all over the world these days, I’m choosing to focus on 10 wonderful Grenaches in Catalunya that I’ve selected from the reports of: Empordà, Penedès, Priorat, and Montsant. Let me emphasize that there are a great many more to be had in those reports if you’re feeling especially “Grenache-y” today.
Today I will be doing my Grenache-ful part by having a brilliant, spicy Thai curry with an excellent bottle of lo Bancal de Granatxa from Sangenís i Vaqué. Oh, did I say spicy? Yes I did. For a certain sector of food pairing purists out there, this is an extreme no-no and I should instead be opening an off-dry Riesling or some such sweet nonsense. I suppose you could do that if you don’t like spice and want to neutralize it, sorta. But why are you eating something spicy at all then?
For quite some time now red Grenache (and sometimes rosé) has been my go-to wine for all spicy dishes. So, I’m drinking this grape quite often because, to quote my former Thai hairdresser in San Francisco who was sweating profusely through a dish of noodles when I walked in for a cut once, “I like the spicy”. Grenache is also excellent with pizza, pasta, and kinda… everything! As long as it’s not something that lived in the water prior to your eating it, but in that case White Grenache will have your back especially if from DO Terra Alta.
It’s an excellent food wine because it generally has lower tannins than other red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. People will however look at what is sometimes high alcohol and think it verboten, but it’s all a question of making it well and keeping balance. Zinfandel is also awesome in many the same ways as Grenache, but that’s for another article.
But just as Grenache can be a bold, delicious choice for spicy dishes, it can also be fresh, Fresh, FRESH!!! This is why you’re seeing it, as well as Cinsault in some of the best rosés on the market. And this is why I included Scala Dei’s Pla dels Àngels as well as Arché Pagès’s Cartesius Rosat below as options in case you’re just not up for a red today or what a different take on Grenache for tomorrow. Both are 100% Grenache and from opposite ends of Catalunya, but equally delicious.
Let’s also not forget that Grenache does sweet. Oh how it does sweet. Some of the best dessert wines there are, are based on Grenache. I’ve included the Sinols Garnatxa from Empordàlia below because I had it with a braç de gitano a week ago and it was just heavenly. Plus it’s a ridiculous steal at just 7.50€.
So don’t think of Grenache as a one trick pony. It is in fact a corral, full of flavorful beasts in all kinds of colors, wildness, and levels of domesticity. So get out there and ride one this Grenache Day!