Happy International Grenache Day 2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Celebrate International Grenache Day 2022 with a look at the grape, its wines, and some recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.

International Grenache Day 2022

    1. Origins

A hotly contested topic: for some grenache originated in the South of France, for others Cannonau in Sardegna, and other still Garnacha or Garnatxa in the Aragon region of Spain.

 

  1. Grenache synonyms

International Grenache Day 2020

 

  1. A warm climate grape

Grenache thrives in warm climates and improves as the vines age. In France, it’s grown in the warm Mediterranean South and in Australia, South Australia’s Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale have perfect climates to grow grenache.

 

  1. What does grenache taste like?

Grenache is known for its flavours of berry fruit such as raspberries and strawberries. However, flavours can depend on yield volumes. On the one hand, for tighter yields, the wines can take on complex and intense notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices, and roasted nuts. On the other hand, increased yields can see earthy herbaceous notes that fade quickly.

 

Rosés made from Grenache grapes are known for their strawberries and cream flavours.

 

  1. The world’s largest grenache plantings are found in France

They had 236,500 acres (95,700 ha) in 2004.

 

  1. 2nd most planted grape in France

It’s the second most planted grape variety after Merlot and before Ugni Blanc.

 

  1. Where is it grown in France and what wines does it produce?

The majority of plantings of Grenache in France are found in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. There, it is often blended with Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

 

It is an important part of the classic Rhone blend. In the Côtes du Rhône, Grenache must comprise at least 50% of the blend along with Syrah (Shiraz) and Mourvèdre (which is like the GSM blend we are more accustomed to in Australia).

 

  1. Not just red wines – Rosé too

It’s not only used in red wine but also in some French rosé wine including those from Tavel and Lirac. As mentioned above, rosés made from Grenache are characterised by strawberries and cream flavours.

 

  1. Grenache as a parent

Grenache has parented several grape varietals:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon together with Garnacha Tinta produced Marselan
  2. with Terrano, Grenache has produced Greco Nero
  3. with Muscadelle Du Bordelais Faux, Grenache produced Emerald Riesling in the USA, South Africa and Israel
  4. with Bouschet Petit, Grenache produced Alicante Henri Bouschet
  5. with Aramon Noir, Garnacha Tinta produced Gramon and also Monerac
  6. with Cot, Garnacha Tinta produced Caladoc,
  7. with Olmo F2-7, Garnacha Tinta produced Carneilan and also Centurion,
  8. with Jurancon Noir, Garnacha Tinta produced Chenanson and also Ganson
  9. with Portugieser Blau, Garnacha Tinta produced Portan

 

  1. Grenache Mutations

DNA studies have shown that a number of differently coloured grapes are in fact mutations of Grenache Noir. These are:

  1. Grenache Blanc – a white mutation of the grape and the 4th most planted white wine varietal in France
  2. Grenache Gris – a pink/grey mutation of grenache; and
  3. Lledoner Pelut – a downy leafed mutation of grenache sometimes known as Hairy Grenache.
Image from : domainejones.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-history-of-lledoner-pelut-in-tuchan.html
  1. Fortified and vin doux naturels

Bothg grenache gris and grenache blanc are used in fortified vin doux naturels from Banyuls and Maury in France.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL GRENACHE DAY 2022

We asked local French wine importers to recommend wines for International Grenache Day 2022.

 

Pierre Stock Wine Selections

Pierre Stock recommends the 2019 Bastide Saint Dominique Chateauneuf du Pape Secrets De Pignan for International Grenache Day 2022.

 

journée internationale du grenacheWhy?

Here we are in the considered the best parcel in Chateauneuf du Pape, adjacent to the one from the very famous Chateau Rayas, particularity of this cuvee is 100% grenache, vinified in cement tank. No wood has been used here.

 

How does French grenache differ from Australian grenache?

Grenache in Australia was originally used for dessert wines then later been introduce as a blend grapes often with syrah.

French Grenache is often found in France in hot weather area and can be used as a single variety wine.

 

What would you pair with this grenache?

Roast meat, BBQ, something meaty and quiet strong In aromas.

 

Single Vineyard Sellers

Kimberly from Single Vineyard Sellers recommends three French wines for International Grenache Day 2022

 

The first is 2018 Cellier des Dauphins ‘Les Dauphins’ Rouge (Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah blend) 

International Grenache Day 2022

Why?

A decidedly southern style of wine with a bright garnet hue, a reflection of the sun-drenched terroirs from which it hails. It boasts a seductively smooth structure and notes of lightly caramelized ripe black fruits. The palate is silky smooth with notes of liquorice and vanilla, revealing a good length and melted tannins.

 

How does French Grenache differ from Australian Grenache?

Grenache has been claimed to originate in Spain, Italy and France, and while the exact place of origin can be contested, there’s no doubt that today it is France that the variety is most famously grown and houses 197,000 acres of the grape. In the region of Côtes du Rhône, where this wine was made, grenache makes up a majority of the region’s grapes. It is one of the most widely-planted varieties in the world and has made itself at home in South Australia. Due to the cooler climate of South Australia, specifically that of the Barossa Valley, the wines from this region are typically stronger in fruit and peppery spice characters than those produced in Rhône Valley and other warmer climate regions.

 

What would you pair this Grenache with?

Ideal as an aperitif, or paired with a seasonal pizza or cheese platter.

 

The second French Grenache Single Vineyard Sellers recommends for International Grenache Day 2022 is 2018 La Resistance Organic Côtes du Rhône Rouge (Syrah & Grenache)

 

Why?

This Grenache and Syrah blend comes from the heart of the southern Côtes du Rhône and was made with organic grapes that were carefully selected with the greatest respect for tradition and the environment. This wine is deep, intensive red in colour with a ripe fruit, spicy, and blackcurrant fragrance. The palate is elegant with soft tannins, good freshness, and aromatic.

 

What would you pair this Grenache with?

Perfect to be serves with a plate of assorted cooked meats, roast dishes, and cheese.

 

journée internationale du grenacheSingle Vineyard Sellers also recommends 2020 La Resistance Organic Côtes du Rhône Rosé (Grenache & Syrah)

 

 Why?

This Rosé was made with Grenache and Syrah from the heart of the southern Côtes du Rhône. The organic grapes from the Vignerons de l’Enclave terroirs were carefully selected with the greatest respect for tradition and the environment. The wine is a beautiful, light pink colour with delicate aromas of soft summer fruits. It is full flavoured, refreshing on the palate with a lingering finish of ripe raspberries.

 

What would you pair this Grenache with?

This wine is delicious as an aperitif, and is a perfect accompaniment to starters, salads and barbecues.

What’s your favourite Grenache? Happy International Grenache Day 2022!

 

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International Grenache Day

Wines for Christmas gifting and Christmas drinking

Reading Time: 7 minutes

With less than 2 weeks left until Christmas, it’s time to stock up on wine for Christmas gifting and Christmas drinking. We asked French wine importers in Australia to recommend French wines for Christmas gifting and for Christmas drinking across 3 budgets: under $50, under $100 and over $100.

Wines for Christmas gifting Wines for Christmas drinking

 

Clos Cachet Fine Wines

Ashleigh from Clos Cachet recommends wines for Christmas gifting and for Christmas Day drinking.

 

Wines for Christmas gifting

Under $50

Les vins à offrir pour noël Wines for Christmas gifting Domaine Le Petit Saint Vincent – Cab à Bulles Rose Méthode Ancestrale Pet Nat – $42

This is the perfect celebration wine when on a budget. Gifting this bubbly Cabernet Franc is perfect for someone that likes a party. “Cab à Bulles” by Dominique Joseph is the quintessential Pétillant Naturel, and is made for enjoying on a deck with fresh prawns and seafood, dips and aperitif snacks.

 

Tasting Notes: This bouquet is lively and energetic with bright red berries with lively phenolics. The palate is bone dry with delectable red fruits, herbaceous green peppers and pretty bubbles. Drink now. 100% Cabernet Franc.

 

Under $100

Les vins à offrir pour noël Wines for Christmas gifting Chateau de Bel-Air – Lalande de Pomerol 2016 $75

As mentioned in the Cocks & Feret guides as one of the best wines of the appellation as early as 1922, Château de Bel-Air is the perfect wine to treat your friend or family to. As a delicate wine that perfectly partners refined dishes, it is a lovely gift for Christmas. Sourced from a vineyard with historic quality, Michel de Laet Derache’s latest vintages will be a delight for anyone to open at Christmas.

 

Tasting Notes: On the nose, Château de Bel-Air presents notes of red fruit and floral aromas; on the palate, a harmonious balance between flesh and tannins means it can be enjoyed after just a few years of cellaring. It can be drunk now or cellared until 2022+. 73% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Over $100

wines for Christmas giftsJean-Luc Jamet – Cote-Rotie “Les Terrasses” 2017 $215

Enjoy with hearty dishes like red meat-driven lasagne and ragu.

 

Treat someone this Christmas to a bottle of Jean-Luc Jamet “Les Terrasses”. As an undeniable icon and celebrated producer, he crafts some of the most exquisite wines in Côte-Rôtie. With his point of difference being his ability to blend more than ten different plots from the best, northern sites of Côte-Rôtie, the receiver of this gift would never have tasted a wine quite like Jamet’s.

 

Tasting Notes: The bouquet is bold and structured, with a spectrum of red-to-dark berry fruit alongside an iron earthiness. The palate delivers waves of dark berry fruit, savoury cured meat across the mid-palate, before bakers spice and menthol on the aftertaste. Drink now with a one-hour decant before serving or lay down till 2030. 100% Syrah.

 

Wines for drinking with the Christmas meal

 

Under $50

Wines for Christmas drinking /Les vins à boire pour noëlRougeot-Dupin – Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019 $46

Here in Australia, we all enjoy a nice hot summer’s day for Christmas, and the perfect wine comes in the form of a Chardonnay by Domaine Rougeot. It pairs brilliantly with cured meats on a charcuterie board before a big feast. Or pour a glass when dishing up your seafood lunch.

 

This Rougeot-Dupin wine is made from purchased Chardonnay grapes, carefully selected from sustainably grown vineyards in Cote de Beaune and Cote Chalonnaise, to ensure the highest quality wine for your enjoyment.

 

Tasting Notes: The wine has a subtle nose of white stone fruit, fresh hazelnut, almond and a hint of butter. It’s perfect to open when it’s young, in its first one to four years. 100% Chardonnay.

 

Under $100

Wines for Christmas drinking /Les vins à boire pour noëlChateau le Coteau – Margaux 2016 $90

For those that enjoy the heartier Christmas feasts this full-bodied Bordeaux blend is perfect to consume alongside your lean meats and charcoaled vegetables, even a firm fish with red wine sauce if you prefer.

 

Château le Coteau is one of the very last family estates within the prestigious Margaux appellation. It has been in Eric Léglise’s family for at least six generations, and now he is the proud custodian of the estate, working with passion and humility. He always applies methods that respect both the environment and his terroir: his vines have always been ploughed and have never received a drop of pesticides. Enjoy this guilt-free Bordeaux blend at your next Christmas dinner.

 

Tasting Notes: Château Le Coteau has a beautiful bouquet, very expressive, with red ripe fruits, blackcurrant, blackberries, some very fine spicy notes, and torrefied coffee beans. On the palate the wine has an enchanting, silky structure, very harmonious and dense. The finish is long, and balanced with great acidity and freshness. Drink now or cellar up until 2026+. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.

 

Over $100

Wines for Christmas drinking /Les vins à boire pour noëlDomaine Rougeot – Meursault 1er cru “Les Charmes” 2019 $215

If you’re wanting to treat yourself to the best of the best, serve up this Meursault Chardonnay with the white meats and seafood. Domaine Rougeot has a long history of making superb white wines out of the famed village of Meursault and the Meursault 1er Cru “Les Charmes” is one of the most incredible Premier Cru of the village.

 

Tasting Notes: The “Les Charmes” Chardonnay has a profound gold colour and a very complex taste of almond, pear and fresh apricot. It is ample, full bodied and rich with a very long finish. The Meursault “Les Charmes” is known to be Meursault’s most elegant wine. You can cellar it for up to 10 to 12 years but if opening it on Christmas you just need to decant it for thirty five minutes before serving. 100% Chardonnay.

 

Clutch Wines

Henri from Clutch Wines shares his recommendations of French wines for Christmas gifting.

 

Wines for Christmas gifting

 

Under $50

Les Deux Moulins Rosé

A little French rosé from the Loire Valley, simple, fruit driven and dry finish.

 

 

 

Des vins à offrir à NoëlOver $50

2014 Domaine Bohn Riesling Schieferberg ‘Biodynamic’

Summer down under is always nice and hot. Nothing better than refreshing ourselves with a classic Alsatian Riesling with a little bit of age. 

Dry, Mineral, biodynamic vineyard

 

Des vins à offrir à NoëlOver $100

2011 Domaine Gatinois Grand Cru Champagne

A stellar drop from a grower in Champagne. As a world celebratory wine Christmas can’t go by without a great bottle of champagne.

Very limited, Only 2 bottles available.

 

 

Cyrano Wines

Jean-Francois from Cyrano Wines shares his recommendations of wines for Christmas gifting and wines for Christmas drinking.

 

Wines for Christmas gifting: all under $50

 

Pic St Loup “Joseph” 2018 from Mas de Figuier     

AOC Pic St Loup/Syrah/Organic

Price inc. GST : $47.00

 

One of the best terroir in the world for Shiraz in the world!

  

Crémant de Limoux « Eugénie » 2018 from Maison Antech   

12.0%/ Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac

Price inc. GST : $33.00

 

So close to Champagne for half the price!

 

 

Wines for Christmas drinking : all under $50

These wines are the perfect match for a Christmas roast.

 

Wines for Christmas drinking /Les vins à boire pour noël« Galets » Rosé 2020 from Château Mourgues du Grès

AOP Costières de Nimes/Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre/Organic

Price inc. GST : $24.00

To be enjoyed chilled before the meal and then with dishes such as grilled fish, red tuna or pork roast.

Luminous rose colour, Intense red fruit aromas and flavours finishing with subtle spicy notes and a distinct sensation of minerality.

Palate is fleshy and crisp.

A serious foodies rosé!

 

Rivesaltes Ambré « Réserve personnelle » 2011 from Jeff Carrel

Vin doux naturel/18.0%/Maccabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris

Price inc. GST :  $33.00

Made by the mutage method (addition of grape spirit to stop fermentation and retain natural sugar), followed by oxidative maturation.

 

Very complex wine with such aromas and flavours of dried fruit, nuts, resin, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, browned sugar, honey….

 

Excellent with Christmas chocolate and dried fruit. Also pairs very well with cheese.

 

Jean-Francois also recommends the two wines recommended for gifting also for drinking with the Christmas meal

 

Crémant de Limoux « Eugénie » 2018 from Maison Antech 

12.0%/ Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac

Price inc. GST :  $33.00

A round and delicate wine with fine bubbles.

Distinctive aromas of white flowers with toasty and honey notes on the palate.

Perfect for festive pre dinner drinks or with summery desserts.

 

Pic St Loup “Joseph” 2018 from Mas de Figuier

AOC Pic St Loup/Syrah/Organic

Price inc. GST : $47.00

Profusion of aromas such as ripe red berry, liquorice, pepper, vanilla, and black chocolate.

A full bodied yet balance wine, with silky tannins and remarkable mouth length.

Perfect red for the Christmas roast.

 

Which wines are you gifting and drinking this Christmas?

 

For other French Christmas ideas, check out these articles:

French Christmas gifts for everyone on your list!

Gift vouchers for French Restaurants and Cafés in Australia

 

And to find out where to buy the Buche de Noel near you:

It’s time for the Bûche de Noël 2021

 

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Wines for Christmas gifting Wines for Christmas drinking