On Friday evening, several wine writers participated in an online tasting in celebration of Garnacha Day. Haven’t heard of it? Perhaps you have. Garnacha is the Spanish name for Grenache. A thin-skinned, medium body grape with notes of red fruit and baking spices, orange zest and herbs. And that’s just the red grape. We also sampled two Grenache Blanc. I admit. It is generally not my favorite white. I often get a bitter, tannic quality in the finish. While it typically pairs well with food, I generally don’t enjoy just sipping one. But as is usually the case with wine, if you try enough…
When a Twitter tasting requires me to open several bottles of wine, I try to invite friends and pair nibbles. This time I chose some Goat Cheese with jalapeño and honey to start. Then I slowly attempted to create a main dish. I say that because I didn’t know where I was going when I began. I had purchased several ingredients I thought would work with the flavor profiles of Garnacha and just started cooking. Not the best technique. I charred some poblano peppers and made a tomato based sauce with onion, garlic, paprika, and chicken stock. I use a similar one of patatas bravas. Then I sautéed ground onions, garlic and debated. Meatloaf? Albondigas? Stuffed peppers? Still unsure, I decided to add the ground turkey to the pan. Empanadas? Some kind of casserole? (You can see I am very precise in the kitchen.) Are guests coming or not? I decided to decide later. To the turkey I added: paprika, cinnamon, salt, cayenne, cumin, toasted almond slivers and currants. I finally decided on pepper “boats” so I could stretch the peppers in case we had company. Half a pepper filled with turkey mixture, topped with tomato sauce. In the oven at any time and I could focus on the tasting. So back to the wine…
We sampled two very different whites and three reds. Each with price points between $9-14. All Monday wines, all tasty.
- Clos Dalian Garnatxa Blanca 2015
- La Miranda de Secastilla Blanca 2014
- Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Carinena 2014
- Evodia Garnacha 2015
- Garnacha Centenaria 2014
The Clos Dalian and La Miranda really showed how different the grape can be. The Clos Dalian from the Terra Alta region was a little sparkle of lemon and sunshine. A touch of salinity made it perfect for pairing with seafood. The consensus was oysters. If only I could still enjoy them…
The La Miranda from the Somontano region was very complex. Layers of pear, citrus, some petrol notes. It was great with food, even two days later. A wide range of possible pairings.
Do you remember the spherical Brach’s fruit candies? The cherry one in particular? Well, I certainly did as soon as I tasted the Castillo de Monseran. Easy drinking from Cariñena with a bit of white pepper and herbs. Great with tapas, charcuterie, or by itself.
From Atea we sampled Evodia 2015. The seemed like more of a serious wine, a little more brooding. Leaning more blue and black fruit than red, surprisingly. This wine is fermented in stainless, may need a bit more time.
The star of the show was the Garnacha Centenaria 2014. The fruit is intense but approachable with herbal notes and orange zest. It spends four months on oak which adds beautiful spicy notes, complexity, refinement. We were all very impressed by this wines depth and balance at a $14 price point.
I often have friends say that they aren’t very serious about wine and never spend more than $20, usually more like $12. I always reply that there are great wines at that price point if you know where to look. And as we all saw, when someone asks where to look, we can say, “Go for Garnacha.”
These wines were provided as media samples from Snooth for participation in the one forum. Many thanks to Snooth and Laura for hosting, Christy Canterbury for answering questions, and all my fellow writers who make these so fun!