International Grenache Day

If you’re wondering what wine to serve with dinner this Friday, I’d suggest something containing grenache. That’s because Friday is International Grenache Day. Why dedicate a day to commemorating a grape variety, you might ask?

It’s to remind wine drinkers that grenache exists, really, as grenache is a great grape which suffers from an image problem. At the foot of the problem is its lack of recognition: a great deal of grenache is used in red blends – think Côtes-du-Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Locally, we have plenty of pure varietal grenaches but they are not big sellers. Most of our grenache goes into GSMs (grenache, shiraz, mourvedre blends, sometimes including other grapes such as tempranillo, cinsault or touriga).

GSMs are also a little unfashionable, but that’s good news for the red wine drinker as it means they are often under-priced. Look no further than the latest St Hallett Gamkeepers Shiraz Grenache Tempranillo 2013 ($14), which is outstanding value for money, while Arakoon’s 2012 Full Bodied Red Shiraz Grenache Mataro ($18) is hot on its heels.

Pure grenache? Try The Old Faithful Northern Exposure 2010 ($50 – tasting), Chapel Hill Bush Vine 2012 ($30 – tasting), Yangarra Estate High Sands 2010 (tasting) (or the lighter bodied 2011 – tasting) (both $125), Yangarra Estate Old Vine ($35 – tasting) and, if you can find it, the 2010 Wirra Wirra The Absconder ($65 – tasting).

Any of the Twelftree grenaches released in tiny quantities by Two Hands part-owner Michael Twelftree from specific vineyards in both the Barossa and McLaren Vale are worth buying, especially the 2012 Airport Greenock ($40 – tasting).

When money is no object: Torbreck Les Amis 2012 ($195 – tasting) is the most enjoyable I’ve yet tasted under this label.

For events, go to www.grenache-association.com

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