Grab a grenache


Friday is International Grenache Day, the annual day set aside for enjoying the Southern Rhone Valley varietal which is the most widely-planted red grape in the world but rarely gets the credit it deserves because it’s so often blended with other grapes.

Grenache is the backbone of red Cotes-du-Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and other copycat styles such as Australia’s great value for money GSMs. There’s a big tasting event planned for Friday at Maxwell Wines (tastings) in McLaren Vale, 5.30 to 7.30pm: taste more than 80 grenaches and grenache blends from 30 producers.

McLaren Vale is the region that really gets behind this event, and my advice, if you can’t get the Vale on Friday, is to crack a bottle of D’Arenberg (tastings), Wirra Wirra (tastings), Yangarra Estate (tastings) or one of the many other good drops with your mates.

The best I’ve had recently are Yangarra High Sands Grenache 2010 (tasting), Teusner Righteous Grenache ’11 (tasting), both $100 drops, while Maxwell Four Roads 2011 (tastingor ‘12 ($22), Turkey Flat Butchers Block ‘12 ($19 – tasting), Vinrock GSM ’12 ($25 – tasting) and Ulithorne Chi ‘10 ($38 – tasting) are all terrific value at affordable prices.

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