As the days start to get shorter and the weather starts to get cooler, it’s time to think about wines that pair well with the fall! Or is it autumn?!? In this episode, we learn about, taste, and review a great wine for fall called Grenache, also known as Garnacha if it comes from Spain. With warm flavors and relatively high alcohol, we think Grenache is a perfect tailgating wine! And, one of the wines we chose for this episode is a Grenache rose’, so we will try to break the myth that rose’ is a summer wine. As a secret bonus, during the section where we taste the wines, we reveal the mystery that is sherbet - or is it sherbert?!? Listen to find out if you have been saying it wrong this whole time! Wines reviewed in this episode: 2020 Viña Borgia Garnacha, 2020 Fortant Coast Select Grenache Rose’, and 2019 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha
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Episode 44: Great Wines for Fall: Grenache! (AKA Garnacha, Great Autumn wines, Tailgating wines, Grenache Rose’, orange sherbet or sherbert?) 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime Carmela! And we are The Wine Pair.
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and review three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 - and are, or should be, easy for you to find. Our goal is to have some fun, learn about some new wines you may want to try, and expand your wine horizons while taking some of the stuffy and the boring out of wine.
And, I want to come clean. I want to say that our last episode was a little rough, we are going to be on lock today! I had to do a lot of editing last week, and I mean a lot. You’ll just have to go back and listen to it, and use your imaginations on what we left out.
Alright, Carmela, the weather is starting to turn, the days are starting to get a little shorter, and we are heading to one of MY favorite times of the year - the Fall, also known as Autumn. And so it feels like the right time to talk about wines that are great for Autumn. There are many wines that are good choices for fall, and so we will do a few episodes on this topic over the next couple of months.
And, we are kicking that off today with a wine that many of you probably know about or have heard of called Grenache - even if you are not sure if you have had it before. And, we are going to taste and review a few different types of Grenache, including a rose’ made from Grenache, which should be really fun. And even though rose’ may seem more like a summer wine, we are going to hopefully prove that some rose’s can be enjoyed any time of the year. And, while we are used to calling the wine Grenache, two of the wines we are tasting and reviewing are from Spain, where the grape and the wine are called Garnacha.
First, a question for you, Carmela: do you call it fall or autumn? And why?
Technically, they are the same thing, it’s just that in the US we tend to use the word fall, and in the UK they tend to use autumn. What's funny is that I don’t think there is another season that has two different names - winter, spring, and summer. Are there?
Now, the fall is not your favorite season of the year, is it Carmela? Why is that? I love it. Fall means school and I was one of those weird kids that liked school, it means football, and that the Holiday triumvirate of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are on the way. I love to see the leaves change color, I love the smell of fall - you know that crisp, cool smell in the air as the seasons change - and all of the decorations that start to come out. And, I tend to love wearing warm weather clothes.
But, let’s get back to wine, shall we?!? Like any time of year, there are wines that are associated with different seasons, and it is the same thing with beer. I think that’s probably for a few reasons - what do you think? What would you look for in a fall or autumn wine, Carmela?
Here are some things I think:
- As the weather turns, we sometimes want a beverage that fits the season - maybe because of the taste or because of the change in weather. We tend to want lighter, more citrusy, and more refreshing beverages in the summer, and maybe warmer and spicier things in the fall and winter. Take a little of that chill or crispness out of the air.
- I think probably the biggest reason is because food changes with the season, and beverages change as a result. In autumn, we tend to start having more “comfort” foods like soups and stews, and those lend themselves to different flavors. Our deserts also change, to things that maybe are a little more pumpkin oriented and with those cinnamon and clove sorts of spices.
Given that we always talk about how food and wine are meant to be paired together, that is where I am leaning - there are wines that lend themselves to foods that are associated with the season, and Grenache or Garnacha is one that fits well with the fall. It is said to be a wine well suited to roasted foods, as well as foods that have spices associated with autumn like cumin, allspice, and cloves. In fact, sometimes Grenache is said to have spice tones to it, including cinnamon, clove, black pepper, and black tea.
So, we’ll see what we think about that, and we’ll dig a little into some of the history and background of Grenache, and in particular the Garnacha wines from Spain.
But before we do all that . . . we have to do our shameless plug, right Carmela? If you like what you are hearing, we would love for you to subscribe to our podcast, and we would also really appreciate it if you would leave us a rating and review so that people who may stumble upon us will tune in to our podcast.
If you want to reach out to us with ideas, or thoughts, or just to talk - you can DM us on Instagram at thewinepairpodcast or contact us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com.
And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast, and this week we think you should tell anyone you know who loves the fall. Or autumn. Or both. Or how about anyone you know who prefers to say autumn.
Topic: Why Is Grenache / Garnacha a Good Autumn Wine? 09:51
Now here’s something that might surprise some of you. Grenache is a wine you have probably had before, but you may not have realized it. You can definitely find Grenache, again also commonly known as Garnacha when it is from Spain, as a stand alone varietal. And, like a lot of wine grapes and wines, it goes by different names, and it is a key wine grape in famous blends like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Rhone GSM blends. We have mentioned this a few times in past episodes, but do you remember what the grapes are that GSM stands for? Grenache Syrah and Mouvedre (moo VEH druh)
Here are names Grenache goes by in other countries:
- Spain: Garnacha
- Sardinia Italy: Cannonau
- Other areas of Italy: Alicante, Tocai rosso, Guarnaccia, Bordò, and Vernaccia Nera
- You will also sometimes see it expressed as Grenache Noir for the red version of the wine because there is a Grenache Blanc as well.
Today, we are talking about the red version.
In our tasting and review in this episode, we are going to taste the wine as its own varietal, but one of the more famous or common ways that people drink Grenache is again in blends, and that’s probably where most of you have tasted it and did not know. One of the frustrating things I see in the US is that there are a lot of wines labeled as “red blends” - but the blend of the grapes in the wines has a HUGE impact on what the wine tastes like. Pet peeve. Tell us the grapes! So, if you have had a red blend in the US, you have probably had Grenache in at least some of them.
Again, speaking of blends, if you have had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape - which actually means the new home for the Popes - and if you didn’t know this, there was a period of time when the Popes were in France and not in Vatican City in Rome in Avignon France which is near where Châteauneuf-du-Pape is made, but I digress - if you have had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, you have had Grenache as part of the blend. Although the wine can be made solely from Grenache, technically, there are 13 different grapes that can go into the wine - but that is a different story for a different episode and one of the reasons wine blends in France can be so confusing. [(I can’t even pronounce them all), and some wines will have a bit of all 13: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Clairette, vaccarèse, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Counoise, Muscardin, Picpoul, Picardan and Terret noir.]
Let’s get back to good old Grenache.
Overall, Grenache is most commonly grown in France and Spain. In France, it is grown in the Rhone - including again in Chateaneuf-du-Pape which is in Southern Rhone and in the Cotes-du-Rhone region, also in Provence where it is often made into a rose’ and in the Pays d’Oc (Pay Doke) region which is where one of our wines comes from today.
In Spain, where two of our wines come from today, it is called Garnacha and is often blended with Tempranillo when it is found in Rioja wines, and when it is found in Priorat wines, it is often blended with Carignan (car REE nyan) and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Garnacha wines we have today are from the Campo de Borja region, which is south of Rioja and to the west of Catalonia, and is in an interesting area in Spain where it is sort of between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea. The Campo de Borja area is sometimes known as the Empire of Garnacha, and is in the Aragon region of Northern Spain.
Grenache is also grown in the US, Australia, and in Sardinia - which is the big island off the coast of Italy that is not Sicily and that people kind of forget about.
But, why is it a good wine for autumn you ask?!? Doing some research on the interwebs, many call it a very fall-friendly wine because of its core flavors which lend itself well to fall foods: raspberry, clove, dried strawberries, and herbs. So, some of the foods which are supposed to lend themselves well to Grenacha, and even more specifically Garnacha are red meats, stews, casseroles and other baked dishes. It is even said to go well with game, which is meat that is typically hunted in the fall and winter. I think
It is also relatively high in alcohol, so it can be a “warmer.” What else could you want out of a wine as the weather gets cooler and you start to feel that snap of fall air? It should be a great wine to pair with your stew or just as a sipper while you’re under the blankets and in front of the fire, or attending one of those late summer early fall baseball or football games.
I have these memories of when the kids were little and we went out a few times with friends of theirs and their parents here in Seattle for trick or treating, and of course the nights could be cold and some of the parents brought along lidded beverage cups and most of the time they did not have coffee or hot chocolate in them if you know what I mean. So, if you wanted to bring along some wine in that covered beverage container, I think Grenache could be a good choice to keep you warm and cozy on your trick or treat walk, or at a football game, or fall soccer games - although I would probably not suggest it for the early morning soccer games. Remember those, Carmela?!? Getting the kids to soccer games at 8 in the morning on a Saturday?!?
Again, there are other wines that can be good fall wine that we will cover in other episodes, but we are going to focus today on Grenache.
A review of the Grenache / Garnacha wines we chose for this episode 17:10
So, let’s talk a little bit about the wines we selected for this episode. Again, two of our wines are from Spain, both from the Campo de Borja area, and so we again should properly call them Garnacha, and the third wine is actually a Rose’ made from Grenache grapes and is from France.
Let’s start first with the Rose’. As I have said many times on this podcast, Rose’ is not a varietal, it is a style of wine. Pet peeve. Rose’ wines can be made from many different types of wine grapes, such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Mouvedre (Moo VEH druh), Syrah, Cinsault (san-sawl), and Grenache, among many others. Rose’ gets its color from - what? How long the grape skins are in contact with the grape juice as they are making wine.
The rose’ we selected is obviously a rose’ created from Grenache, and is from France, specifically from the very south of France in an relatively large wine growing area called Pays d’Oc (Pay Doke) which is very close to Spain - so all of these wines are from a similar geographic region. In this area of France, there are over 60 wine grape varieties grown - which is huge. About 20% of French wine imports come from this area, and it is evidently the largest producer of rose’ in France, and Grenache is the grape most likely to be found in rose’s from this area, sometimes on its own, and sometimes in a blend.
We thought it would be kind of fun to have one of the wines we try be a rose’ - and to sort of break the myth that rose’ is only a summer wine. Rose’ made from Grenache is considered by some to be an any weather or any season wine - and Grenache rose’ is supposed to be fresh and acidic, so it should be a great wine to go with the foods we enjoy throughout harvest season.
The other two wines we chose are more traditional red Garnacha wines that we might expect as fall or autumn warmers, and again, the ones we chose are from Spain. We did have a bit of trouble finding single varietal Grenache wines from the US - we know they are out there, but they were not super easy to find, but these wines we easily found both online and in grocery stores.
We mentioned before that these wines are from the Campo de Borja region of Spain, and these wines were originally cultivated from grapes made into wine in monasteries, specifically Trappist, also known as Cistercian monasteries. Many people may not know this, but many Trappist monasteries made and still make beer and wine. They did that for several reasons, including that it was a way to trade with travelers since the Trappists were generally poor, and because alcohol is a way to make drinking water safe. Wine has been made in this area, originally started by these monks, for 1,000 years!
The first wine we are drinking, called Viña Borgia Garnacha, is a wine that seems to me can probably be drunk while it is still young. The grapes are grown at a pretty high elevation - between 1,200 and 2,400 feet - and are fermented in stainless steel and not finished in oak, so this should be a pretty fresh and lively wine, without the tang of oak with a medium acid level.
The second of the two Garnacha red wines is going to be a little different - even though it is from the Campo de Borja area as well. It is called Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha and is not super hard to find - many of you have probably seen it, and you will see pictures of it on our Instagram. It is grown at a bit lower altitude although in similar sandy soils, and while it is fermented in stainless steel, it is finished for 5 months in new French oak barrels. So, while 5 months is not a ton a ton of time, the fact that it is finished in new French oak should bring out a different style of wine than the Vina Borgia - one that has more tannin, and likely a bit more body to it.
So, this will be a good opportunity to not only taste and review some Grenache wines, but also to see how different the styles and tastes can be depending on the way they are created.
Enough of this talking, what do you say we get to tasting!
Grenache / Garnacha wine pairing tasting and review 22:23
Wine: Viña Borgia Garnacha
Region: Spain, Campo de Borja
Producer: Agricola de Borja
Grapes: Garnacha (Grenache)
What we tasted and smelled in this Grenache / Garnacha: Cranberry, red berry, raspberry, spice, pepper, allspice, anise, herb, earthy, juicy. Not heavy, but has body and good flavor.
Food to pair with this Grenache / Garnacha: Great for a football tailgate, charcuterie board, grilled sausage, grilled brats or grilled hot dogs, grilled burgers. Spicy nachos, queso dip.
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and in-between we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
Wine: Fortant Coast Select Grenache Rose’ (Click here to buy this wine - affiliate link)
Region: France, Pays d’Oc
Professional Rating: WW 89
What we tasted and smelled in this Grenache Rose’: Potpourri, citrus, melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey, vanilla, some sweetness, tart lemon, strong strawberry taste, strawberry candy, strawberry Starburst, Capri Sun, sweet, orange sherbet. AND IT IS SPELLED SHERBET.
Food to pair with this Grenache Rose’: White fish, fried fish, spicy foods, fried foods.
Feels like what you expect from a Rose’, and feels like a Rose’ you could put ice in.
Wine: Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha (Click here to buy this wine - affiliate link)
Region: Spain, Campo de Borja
Producer: Bodegas Borsao
Retailer: QFC (Kroger)
Grapes: Garancha (Grenache)
Professional Rating: WS 90, JS 90, (V 90 for the 2018 vintage)
What we tasted and smelled in this Grenache / Garnacha: Cedar, smoke, leather, smoked salmon, smoked meat, cured meat, raspberry, spice, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, tart fruit, tastes fruitier than it smells, black plum, tannin,
Food to pair with this Grenache / Garnacha: red meat, rich foods, mac and cheese, comfort food wine.
Which one of these are you finishing tonight?
Joe: Vina Borgia
Carmela: Fortant Rose’
Do you think Grenache / Garnacha would make a good wine for Fall?
Love it! A great wine for fall.
Taste profiles expected from Grenache / Garnacha: 44:00
- Grenache taste profile
- Stewed strawberry, grilled plum, leather, dried herbs, blood orange, black tea, crushed gravel, clay pot, lavender, eucalyptus, clove, pink grapefruit, fruit leather, licorice, cedar, raspberry.
- From the Borsao website
- Presents in the nose a great concentration of aromas of ripe red fruit with floral nuances. In the mouth it is a well structured rich wine that evokes tastes of blackberry, plum and tones of leather and vanilla, with a soft and silky tannin.
- From the Borsao shelf talker
- Explosive bouquet of concentrated fruit, cherry cola and lavender. Rich, well structured pallet of blackberry, plum with a harmonious finesse of smoky leather and vanilla.
- Grenache Rose’
- Strawberry, Raspberry, Watermelon Candy, Lemonade, and Cucumber. Wines have a burst of sweet red fruit flavors and a finish that usually ends with zesty sweet lemon-like acidity. Sometimes orange, hibiscus and with a hint of allspice
- Descriptions of the Fortant Coast Select Pays d’Oc
- This rose petal pink-hued wine offers a vivacious nose with notes of redcurrant and thyme. Delicate on the palate, revealing lovely citrus and red berry flavors and boasting a long fresh finish.
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 46:38
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