Who doesn’t like to broaden their horizons? At NJWineSeller, we certainly do. Trying a variety of wines can be a refining and enjoyable experience. So, with this in mind, I would like to introduce you to two varietals that are already well known - but that are, in our opinion, underappreciated. Those two varietals are Grenache and Syrah.
Grenache is the primary red wine grape used for Châteauneuf du Pape - a red wine from the Rhône wine region in southeastern France. While thirteen different red wine grapes are allowed by law in Châteauneuf du Pape, Grenache reigns undisputed in this region.
72% of the Rhône region is devoted to Grenache, its closest competitor - Syrah covers closer to 5% of the region. However, Grenache is not just important to the Rhône valley... it’s actually one of the world’s most popular red wine grapes! It is so popular, in fact, that this grape has its own holiday called International Grenache Day which is celebrated every September 3!
Grenache, with its thick skin and tight clusters, is perfect for the hot, dry, sand-and-stone soils of Châteauneuf du Pape. The mistral, which delivers strong, windswept climates in southeastern France, aids in the development of the berries by drying the vineyards and curating a more concentrated flavor.
Grenache is one of the most versatile wines to pair with food. Due to its spiciness, pure red fruits, fresh attributes, and the myriad of different levels of depth and textures, Grenache works well with a diverse array of plating's. Pairing perfectly with grilled, stewed, and braised meats - like beef, veal, pork, chicken and of course game. Grenache holds up well to hearty dishes like cassoulet and is even a good match for less spicy styles of Asian cooking. It is not known with any degree of accuracy how long Syrah grapes have been in existence. It’s quite possible that the ancient Romans planted the fruit in Vienne, which we know as Cote Rotie today. At the time, according to writings from Pliny the Elder, the vines were called Allobrogica.
Today, Syrah is ranked as the world’s 6th most planted grape. Yet, it wasn’t until the 1800’s that Syrah started becoming more prevalent in the Rhône Valley and the Languedoc Roussillon area. The true popularity of Syrah slowly took form in the 1960s.
Syrah is perfect for a wide and diverse array of wine and food pairings. Syrah is often the best wine for all types of roasted, grilled, or smoked meat dishes, such as duck, beef, veal, sausage, grilled meats, barbecue, and chicken. Syrah-based wines and gamey meats also make a perfect pairing.
Syrah also makes a great wine match for rich braised dishes and stewed meat, or fish. Syrah is for many people, the only wine that works well with winter comfort dishes like cassoulet, grilled steaks, and good old-fashioned American hamburgers - it can also be easily paired with a myriad of different hard and soft cheeses.
If you’re looking to try some Grenache or Syrah varietals for yourself, here are a few of our favorites at NJWineSeller.:
SITE GRENACHE 2013-$34.99
This ink-colored 2013 Grenache from the Larner Vineyard incorporates 20% Syrah and uses a touch of whole clusters in fermentation. At Larner Vineyard, Jeremy ages the Grenache in neutral barrels and the Syrah in new barrels. A complicated melange of tastes emerge from this full-bodied, rich, gorgeously textured, and layered Grenache - notes of blueberry, blackberry, smoked earth, cured meats, and truffle all present themselves in sequence. In addition, this particular Grenache offers fine polished tannin, notable purity, and will retain peak taste for 7-8 years.
PETRICHOR SYRAH 2015-$32.99
This is the second vintage of Petrichor producing single varietal Syrah! This 2015 Syrah is full of beautifully mixed savory tones: smokey, leathery and meaty - with undertones of spice and a lingering taste of red fruits. A satisfying and beautiful new world Syrah that pairs well with cured meats, duck, and lamb.
LIMERICK LANE RED BLEND 2012-$55.99
This blend of 66% Syrah and 34% Grenache is a fresh, ripe, and beautifully vibrant wine, that plays with the balance between fruitiness and core structure. It presents as rich, solid, and earthy; yet, remains focused with juicy pomegranate. While this is a wonderful wine for pairing with a meal, it can also be easily enjoyed on its own. It offers copious aromas, including those of black currants, cherries, strawberries, licorice, asphalt, and roasted herbs. With balanced acidity, beautiful density, a full-bodied opulence, and 14.1% alcohol - we suggest drinking it within 6-8+ years.
DOMAINE DU PEGAU CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE 2015-$69.99
A vintage compared to 2010 by Laurence, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the biggest successes in vintage. Possessing aripe and round body style which is balanced by a solid density and concentration - it offers classic Pegau notes of currants, peppers, and cured meats. Big, rich, concentrated, and beautifully textured -truly a find with a rare depth of fruit and richness. This wine is wonderfully valued!
Visit us at NJWINESELLER and ask about our Syrah and Grenache selections. Cheers!!
Written By: Ray