Grenach Panache – Thursday June 5th

For a lot of people, Grenache is their favourite grape variety.  The wines of the Southern Rhone Valley in France have long been popular, and thanks to the consistency and value of the region’s most inexpensive AOC the Cotes-du-Rhone, the wines have also been accessible.  But now the Rhone has company.  Serious company.  Northeastern Spain pumps out great Grenache, and Australia and the US are natural homes for the late-ripening grape as well.

This night was all about exploring the flavours of Grenache, and talking to like-minded people who are passionate about this variety.  It was a great night, and thank you for those who attended.

  1. 2010 Coca I Fito “Jaspi Maragda” (Montsant, Spain) – $28.  This wine performed very well.  If you like the wines of Priorat, this gives you a lot of the same qualitites at a great price point.  Black cherry and licorice flavours were held up nicely by the wines tannic and acid structure.  Balanced.  Expressive.  Delicious.  What more do you want?
  2. 2009 Mas Blanch I Jove “Sao Abrivat” (Costers del Segre, Spain) -$29.  This was the most restrained wine of the night.  Balanced and refined, yet missing just a little “pop.”  Really nice red fruit, charcoal and herbaceous flavours, but I found myself constantly trying to coax more out of the wine.
  3. 2011 Cochon Wines GSM “Pape Rocks” (California) – $28.  The surprise of the night – what a wine!  It features grapes that were picked from 90 year-old Grenache vines, pre-1900 Syrah vines and 130 year-old Cinsault vines!  Intense, sunny California red-fruit flavours are all contained nicely.  Really great bottle of wine for $28 bucks.  Tied for 3rd place amongst the group.
  4. 2011 Cape Barren GSM “Native Goose” (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $24.  Australia is so underrated right now – $24 for this wine!  Rich, spicy, and shockingly complex, this wine received some 1st place votes, but ultimately tied for 3rd place amongst the group.  Made for BBQ season.
  5. 2010 Perrin Vinsobres “Les Cornuds” (Vinsobres, France) – $22.   When I asked the group what they thought the price was of this wine, no one guessed under $30.  Easily the top-selling wine of the night.  Vinsobres is a region to watch out for, especially for those like myself who are starting to struggle to not only afford the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but also some of wines of Gigondas.  The 2nd place finisher.
  6. 2011 Chateau de Saint-Cosme Gigondas (Gigondas, France) – $47.  And the wine of the night, and it wasn’t really close.  Louis Barruol is a freak… How he combines so many juxtaposing qualities into his wines is beyond me.  Power and finesse; fruit flavours and savoury ones; richness and freshness.  His wines are awesome, and his 2011 Gigondas which should cruise for the next 10 years.

The Evening’s Top 3 Wines:

  1. 2011 Chateau de Saint-Cosme Gigondas
  2. 2010 Perrin Vinsobres “Les Cornuds”
  3. TIE! 2011 Cochon Wines GSM “Pape Rocks” & 2011 Cape Barren GSM “Native Goose”

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