I would venture to say that you’ve probably sipped on Garnacha before, and probably without realizing it. Garnacha is the oldest grape in modern existence, and is truly one of my new favorites.
Commonly blended with cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which creates a “GSM” blend common in southern France, Garnacha is rarely showcased as a single varietal. It’s unfortunate, really, because these grapes are super easy to drink – and they pair SO well with food, too!
I was lucky enough to receive five bottles of Garnacha (or Grenache, which it is called in France), and review each of them to share with you for this blog post. I started with the Circo, which was bottled in 2016. I decided to cook with it, seeing as it was the youngest of my selection … and it had a screw top, so I didn’t have to rummage around my drawers for a wine key. 🙂 I added half a cup of the Garnacha to my shredded beef ragu sauce, as I was looking to add a depth and richness to the sauce that I personally think only red wine can provide.
Not only was the sauce amazing, but oh my god, I was not expecting the wine itself to be so awesome! We have roughly 50 bottles of wine on hand at all times in our household. We have two temperature-controlled small refrigerators to house our wine, and are very selective about what we add to the collection, and when we drink particular wines.
Mark and I each had a glass of this, and immediately decided it was something we would happily pick up if we were to see it in the store. Luckily, most Garnachas range from $10-15 per bottle, so they’re incredibly approachable in financial terms.
One of the most unique things about Garnacha is the variety of options you have to choose from. I also received a bottle of white Garnacha, which is perfect to pair with lighter appetizers before diving into an awesome meal. For dinner, I would move onto one of the red options – which would be perfect with roasted or braised meats. I braised chuck roast over low heat on the stovetop for four hours, and mixed it with crushed tomatoes, celery, carrot, onion, and various herbs. The cup of wine really added an amazing depth to the sauce, and made it perfect to have a glass of the same wine with dinner.
The 2014 Las Rocas and 2012 Don Ramon are so awesome in their own right. Expressing a little more complexity with the added years, both are highly drinkable alone or with food, too. I would pair either with red meats, or maybe a fish with a hearty sauce.
One of the most interesting bottles I received was a black Garnacha. I can honestly say I had never heard of such a thing until I received it in this shipment, but what a pleasant surprise! Save it for sipping with dessert; we are big on chocolate, so a chocolate cake or brownie would be a rich companion to accompany this wine. Or simply sip on it as dessert itself!
If you’ve never tried Garnacha (or Grenache, in France) on its own, you need to do it. Use it in place of the Cabernet Sauvignon, or the Merlot you bought for dinner. Use it with your food, or just sip it as you’re watching your favorite movie on the couch. Another great idea is bringing a bottle as a housewarming gift, or bringing a couple of bottles to Thanksgiving to introduce a new grape to your whole family!
Whatever you do, whatever occasion it may be, it’s going to be worth it. I would love to hear what particular bottles you find that you love – I’m always on the hunt for new favorites.