The Rogue Rhônes : Hitting the G-Spot with Grenache
Ahhhh Grenache. I think this was the first wine that I ever saw for the second time in the toilet bowl after one too many pulls from the ol’ bag of Franzia at a frat party. Grenache isn’t a sleazy grape, though, and my recent experiences with it have been downright delightful. Originally from Spain (though you might hear differently if you ask an Italian), Grenache made a splash in California as an ever-popular Grandma grape in the early wine making days and has more recently come to the Columbia Valley AVA for use in Rhône blends like the Helix SoRho.
It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs to be carefully controlled in the vineyards. It tends to lack tannin, acid, and color due to it’s thin-skin and is usually blended with other varieties such as Cinsault and Mourvèdre, like in the SoRho, as well as Syrah and Tempranillo. Sadly, in the early days of US wine production, Grenache’s characteristics and high yields were perfect to make the dreaded jug wine, giving the poor grape kind of a bad rap. Some of the flavors we look for in our production of Grenache at Reininger are raspberries, strawberries, intense notes of black currant, black cherry, black olive, coffee, honey, leather, black pepper, and tar. Despite being one of the world’s most widely planted grapes, it only exists in Washington State within the Columbia Valley AVA. In the Helix SoRho, we like it because it adds body and fruitiness to complement all of those rich, gamey, and tannic characteristics found in Mourvedre and Cinsault.
Who’s ready for a recipe? Don’t worry…I’ve got a great one picked out for you.