Did you know it’s International Grenache Day today? Popular in France (particularly the Southern Rhône) and in Spain (where it’s known as Garnacha), this powerhouse grape produces wines with deep raspberry flavors, medium alcohol levels and low acidity, but also excels in blends. International Grenache Day couldn’t come at a better time: with the Summer Solstice in effect on September 21st, it’s officially Fall. Grenache is the perfect autumnal grape, robust and full concentrated fruit. In celebration of International Grenache Day and the change in seasons, check out our top scoring pours.
95 Maison Bleue 2010 Boushey Vineyard Le Midi Grenache (Yakima Valley)
As excellent as this was was in 2009, the 2010 has reached an almost-ethereal level. The aromatics alone are transportive, with the concentrated essence of raspberries and blueberries at optimal ripeness. The flavors are deep and long, elegant and powerful, and they lead into a finish that’s anchored in notes of mineral and dark chocolate. — P.G.
abv: 14.5% Price: $35
95 Cayuse 2009 God Only Knows Grenache (Walla Walla Valley (OR))
This Grenache leaps into another dimension, with more concentration, earth, umami and salinity than ever before, yet it retains its elegance thanks to a crisp finish of raspberry and rock flavors. Reminiscent in a way to high-altitude Argentine Malbec, this will cellar well for a decade or more. — P.G.
abv: 14.3% Price: $85
92 Vignerons de Caractère 2009 Roque Colombe G-S-M (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
From the cave cooperative located in nearby Vacqueyras, this is a full-bodied, plushly textured wine that manages to avoid being too soft. Black cherry and garrigue notes are joined by hints of licorice and mocha on the long, layered finish. Drink now–2020. — J.C.
abv: 14.5% Price: $41
92 Alto Moncayo 2009 Aquilon Garnacha (Campo de Borja)
This is a powerful, rich, toasty Garnacha, with grit, earth and spice galore on the bouquet. It feels tough, masculine and tannic, with a mix of beefy black-fruit flavors elevated by molasses and spice. Firm and showing some burn on the finish, along with notes of black licorice and peppery spice. Only 200 cases made. Drink now–2016. — M.S. (2/1/2013
abv: 16% Price: $155
91 Alto Moncayo 2009 Garnacha (Campo de Borja)
Smoky, charred and minerally on the nose, this has a balsamic berry aroma and lots of dark spice. It feels deep, pure and layered, with flavors of wild berry, toast, baked plum and dark spice. It finishes big, with hints of rubber, blackberry and lasting spice. — M.S. (2/1/2013)
abv: 16% Price: $45