We think everyday should be a wine holiday. So when there’s actually an official day on the calendar, we have to break out the party hats.
The third Friday in September is #GrenacheDay, which is perfect timing because this wine works so great with all your fall dishes like mac and cheese, chili and all your spicy favorites.
Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world and and you probably don’t even realize you’re already drinking it. It’s like the actor Vincent Schiavelli. He’s in so many movies — from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Ghost, as to the X-Files — and yet no one knows his name.
So here are 5 things you should know about Grenache before you pour your next glass.
1. It’s Got a Bunch of Names.
While it’s called Grenache in France, the US and Australia, in Spain, it’s Garnacha. In Italy, the local name is Cannonau.
2. The Grape Likes It Hot.
So you’ll find a ton if it in Spain. The Cariñena wine region, in northeast Spain, is one of the oldest Garnacha producers in the world.
It is also one of the main grapes of Sardinia, the island west of Naples, Italy. Sardinian law says that Cannonau di Sardegna wine must be 99% local Cannonau. And almost one bottle in every five from Sardinian wine is a Cannonau di Sardegna.
It is one of the major grapes of the Rhone region in Southern France, where the vines can be over 100 years old.
It is also grown Sicily, Australia, California and Washington.
3. Think Fruit Rollup With Cinnamon
Close your eyes and you’ll smell cinnamon and red fruity flavors – much like the fruit rollup you ate as a kid. You might get a little pepper when you taste it and the alcohol content can reach 15%, which is on the high-end for your red wines.
It’s a medium- to full- bodied wine, yet the reddish color is kind of translucent.
And as these wines age, they get that brownish color quicker than other reds.
4. It’s Often Part Of A Blend
Because of the translucent color, Grenache is often blended with other grapes.
Check the label of your favorite Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend from southern France that allows up to 13 different grape varietals. It is often the dominant grape, and could be about 80% of the blend.
In France and Australia, it is a big part of the Côtes du Rhône blends, which are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, a.k.a the "GSM" blends.
Even in Spain, some Rioja wines, which are predominately the Tempranillo grape, may have some Garnacha in them.
And finally, because the grape’s think skin and light color, it’s used in a ton of Rosé wines.
5. There’s A White too.
Grenache Blanc, also known as Garnatxa Blanca in Spain, is a white grape, related to the red Grenache. It also has higher alcohol than most whites and you’ll get citrus and a ton of herbs.
So check the labels of your favorite blends – we bet you’ll find some Grenache in them.
And speaking of James Bond, the fall is the perfect time to start using your Champagne coup. Here's a great selection from The Proof!
Grenache Wines to Try:
Gerard Bertrand Languedoc Syrah-Grenache 2011, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, $23
Deep red color, thanks to the Syrah. Red and black fruit. Full-bodied, long finish.
Vinas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2012, Somontano , Spain, $16
Fresh and tropical fruit aromas. A soft elegant white wine.
CVNE Crianza 2012, Rioja, Spain, $16
80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha & Mazuelo (another Spanish grape). Cherry and vanilla flavors.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.