September 21st is International Grenache Day, and you, along with countless other wine connoisseurs, are gearing up for the event by going out to buy your favorite bottle of Grenache wine. This red delicacy has an intriguing history to go along with its unique flavor profile. Read on to learn more and find just the right meal to pair this extraordinary beverage with.
Originally called the Garnacha, the Grenache grape hails from a region in Spain known for it's hot, dry weather. It is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world. Due to its Spanish location bordering France, the Garnacha grape traveled the border and became popularized by its French name of Grenache. The grape was originally cultivated for both single variety and blended wines alike and stakes its claim in some of the world-famous wines.
Grenache wines typically have strong red fruit flavors such as strawberry and raspberry, accompanied by a nice, almost peppery spice. Typically, single variety wines featuring the Grenache grape tend to be weaker in color and flavor while being known for their higher alcohol content and soft tannins, creating a subtle, pale, and fruity wine, lacking in dryness. However, it blends very well with darker reds which are lacking in alcohol content, creating a very nicely balanced, complex flavor profile. There is also a white variety of the Grenache grape called Grenache Blanc which forms a lovely, full-bodied white wine.
Grenache is a versatile wine that pairs well with many different dishes and flavor profiles due to its low acidity and relatively full body. Some of the more popular pairings match it up with savory braises and stews. The tender, and often fatty flavors of slow cooked pork or lamb really lend themselves to this wonderful wine. Even more French style dishes such as rabbit or spiced up dishes in the southern Spanish style make a complementary pair. There are less dishes to not pair with a Grenache than there are to pair with it. It's high alcohol content and rich, spiced profile help it to stand up to even the gamier dishes such as turkey or the fatty, spiced dishes such as British bangers and mash. The only thing you will want to watch out for are things the Grenache can easily overpower such as raw meats and fish or steamed, lightly seasoned fish and vegetables. Feel free to follow these guidelines and experiment with which pairings best suit your own palate.
International Grenache Day is right around the corner. Now is the time to stock up on your favorite varieties and plan your celebratory meal. Starting with a hearty stew and traveling through the night with a tender, juicy roast will make for an enjoyable evening with brilliant pairings, fine wines, and wonderful company.