Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great Grenache

In honour of International Grenache Day on Friday, September 20th, we pay tribute to the unsung hero of the wine world, with an exploration of Grenache based wines coming out of the Okanagan Valley in recent years via Okanagan Falls producer, Stag's Hollow. As well, we offer up a few selections from traditional Grenache-producing regions around the world.

Stag's Hollow Winery has been trending towards Rhone Valley inspired wines for a number of years now. With the release of BC's first-ever 100% Grenache wine, this 'trend' has become more of a full-on devotion. The new release, sourced from vineyards in Penticton and Cawston during the hot 2012 vintage, shows that Grenache is viable in the Okanagan Valley when the site of the vineyard has been appropriately selected and the vintage conditions oblige the sun-loving grape. Future releases, not matching this select criteria, will go a long way to proving Grenache's long-term viability in the Okanagan Valley. Time will tell.

Below are our notes on Stag's Hollow's recent wines exploring the many facets of Grenache's personality.

A Solo Act
Stag's Hollow Winery 2012 Grenache - $29
Drinking this Grenache is pure joy. Brimming with layers of aromatic flowers, sweet spice and a medley of ripe, red fruit aromas on the sensual and feminine nose. The palate offers amazing continuity - the wine truly tastes like it smells - rich, feminine and complex with concentrated red fruit creating the perception of light sweetness through to the long, balanced, rounded finish.
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The Blending Partner

Stag's Hollow Winery 2009 Cachet No. 02 - $50
Released under Stag's Hollow's premier label, Cachet Wines, this beautiful Grenache-Syrah blend opens with a feminine nose of crushed violets, potpourri, dried cranberry, spiced oak and sweet red fruit. The complex and intense palate needs more time in the bottle for the rich red fruit, savoury characters, bright berry acidity and fine tannin elements will meld together further and evolve as expected over the next 2 years.
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Grenache Blanc
Stag's Hollow Winery 2011 GVM - $28
Consisting of  63% White Grenache, 22% Viognier and 15% Marsanne, this charming wine offers a subtle nose layered with citrus fruit, savoury herbs and Asian pear aromas. The palate explodes with a textural battle between the mouth watering effects of fresh acidity and the mouth coating qualities of rich tropical fruit and light tannins.
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Around The World
Domaine Saint-Damien 2010 Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes - $22
Opening with a pungent and powerful nose of meaty, forest floor this fabulous Côtes du Rhône gem may overload the sense of some wine drinkers. However, those willing to to be patient with the wine to open up and then venture forth will be handsomely rewarded.
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Xavier Vins 2009 Gigondas - $32-36
Gigondas, from the wine buyer's expectations perspective, should fit somewhere between quality Côtes du Rhône and entry-level Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the Xavier offering fits the bill. A masculine Gigondas with spicy garrigue, cedar, dried plum, berry fruit and loads of river stone mineral aromas.
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Château de Beaucastel 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape - $90
An unmistakable Chateauneuf expression of concentrated, rich dark fruit, warm rock, garrique and tobacco characters. The opulent, ripe fruit is balanced nicely with crisp acidity and presented in the ultra-fine, silky smooth manner we expect from the iconic Château.
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Cellar Besllum 2008 Montsant - $20
Mustn't forget the lovely Grenache of Spain where the grape is known as Garnacha. This offering, a blend of equal parts Carignan and Garnacha, has plenty of character on the layered nose and smooth palate. Smoke, cured meats, strawberry, cranberry and leather make up an eclectic mix of aromas for the developed bouquet. The dry palate will open up beautifully when decanted properly, producing an array of flavours, similar to the nose, with added bitter chocolate, ripe red fruit and savoury spice notes.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013

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