Food tips

WINE WITH DIETARY ADVICE: Grenache is a conversation starter


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Wine columnist Bill Crane celebrates International Grenache Day at Under the Trees.

By WineBill

Serving Artwines’ Crumpy Old Man Grenache 2020, at the Under The Trees gala art night, was the perfect way to celebrate International Grenache Day on Friday, September 17th.

It is very interesting during my wine events, when the participants proclaim a passion or an aversion for a particular grape variety. It really sets off the planned conversations: “Oh, I only drink Sauvignon Blanc” or “I don’t like Chardonnay it’s too woody are regular mumbles.

But hey, the jackpot was won on Friday night when the majority marveled at the Artwine In The Groove Gruner Veltliner 2019. Most had never heard of the grape and when they tasted it; many were really impressed,

I started the tasting with the GV and ended with the Grenache.

Little by little, Grenache became known for its potential to create wines on par with other great grape varieties. This change has been reflected in many parts of Australia, but particularly in South Australia.

Having claims to its origins both in France and in Spain. Today, Grenache is best known in Australia as part of a trio mixed with Shiraz and Mourvèdre, the aptly named GSM blend. This highly regarded blend has the added peppery complexity that shiraz and mourvèdre bring to the crisp, vibrant fruit of Grenache.

Only 10 years ago, the dominant national style of Grenache was that of red fruit jammy wines. In no time, however, the Australian Grenache was shaken up with the greatest wines maintaining ethereal delicacies, flavorful and worthy of aging. It has become the darling of artisanal and boutique winegrowers.

The range of styles and quality has exploded. There are charming, light and fun styles for early drinking to serious, structured wines for the cellar. It has the complexity and viscosity of Pinot Noir with the richness and volume of Shiraz.

Due to its medium tannins and low acidity that characterizes Grenache, this means it will pair well with a range of dishes from smoked duck and Zhangcha tea to lighter dishes, such as eggplant, tomatoes and mixed nut roasts, garnished with spicy zaatar. Grenache also goes perfectly with pizza. Notes of black cherry, raspberry and red plum also brighten the palate to accompany Thai-style dishes, especially if lemongrass, soy and cilantro are in order.

Wine experts are discussing if there is a more exciting grape in Australia, right now. Yes, Grenache has the potential to start a lot of wine conversations.

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