Also known as Garnacha in Spain and Cannonau on the island of Sardinia, Grenache is perhaps most famously known as the principal red grape in the Southern Rhone Valley, particularly in the Chateuneuf-du-Pape region. This heat-loving grape is now also grown in numerous warm climates. It produces delicious wines full of raspberry, strawberry, and herbal flavors. The variety requires skill and a deft touch to produce. Lesser versions can be flabby, overwhelmed by alcohol, or can lack multidimensionality. The Grenache grape thrives in the Foothills due to the abundant sun and heat accompanied by cooling influences that help maintain acidity and because of the granitic soils.
FOOTHILLS WINO GRENACHE OF THE YEAR
This Grenache starts off intensely fruit forward with a mix of fresh, ripe red fruit hitting your nose as soon as the cork is pulled. Then, after a moment, complex, delicate aromas start to emerge. Menthol-driven herbs and potpourri begin to dominate, accompanied by several interesting notes that you can’t quite put your finger on. And then, boom, here come those raspberries again! Some oak is present, but in a supporting role. And while the nose is mesmerizing, it is on the palate where this wine truly shines. The mouthfeel is soothing, and the balance is perfect, which isn’t easy to achieve in a Grenache. The finish is delicious and lasts longer than the alcohol (again not an easy accomplishment), allowing the opportunity to savor the flavor between each sip.
OTHER FAVORITE FOOTHILLS GRENACHES
I guess you could say that making great Grenache in the Foothills is a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. The El Dorado County Joneses have been making top quality Grenache for years, and the 2015 is no exception. Wild strawberries, geraniums, and vanilla highlight this delicately beautiful wine.
It is no surprise that this top producer of Rhone-style wines has one of the top Grenaches in the Foothills. This is perhaps the most delicate of the Top Six. The cherry, raspberry, herbs, and baking spices are subtle, but when you spend some time with this one, they start to emerge in full glory. The effort is very rewarding.
Earthly goodness in a bottle. Yes, there’s the red fruit you expect from the variety, but this Grenache is equally intense with florals, minty herbs, and forest floor. A thick yet silky mouthfeel is also one of the highlights of this amazing wine. This is the kind of wine you can enjoy for hours all by itself.
Complexity and intensity define this beautiful Grenache. It is more Rhone-style in structure than you will typically find in the Foothills with an actual tannic backbone and balancing acidity. There’s the expected ripe strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, but there’s also the unexpected hint of some fresh blackberries. Florals and baking spices carry through from start to finish.
This well-crafted, organically-grown Grenache is very unique and surprising. It is intense, complex, brooding, and full of interesting flavors and aromas including cherries, raspberries, leafy herbs, and a little bit of delightful funkiness. Co-fermentation with a handful of Syrah adds structure and more.