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Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

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Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Fri Dec 01, 2023 2:08 am

Month 12, so let’s do one of the 13 permitted grapes in CNdP. Grenache is probably best known for its role in the Southern Rhône, but it’s also important in Spain, and gathering steam in California.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Robin Garr » Fri Dec 01, 2023 10:10 am

Good one! I love Southern Rhône Grenache, especially as a key player in the regional blend. I'll have a TN later this morning!
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Robin Garr » Fri Dec 01, 2023 4:07 pm

Famille Perrin 2020 "Nature" Côtes du Rhône ($13.99)

Dubbed "Nature" because it's made with certified organic grapes, Famille Perrin 2020 "Nature" Côtes du Rhône shows an attractive dark-ruby color all the way to a thin clear edge, with bright crimson glints against the light. A lovely mix of ripe raspberries and cherries fill the nose and palate, with floral black pepper and a distant whiff of roses following. Firm acidity and palatable tannic astringency build structure, with potent 14.5% alcohol staying out of the way. It all adds up to a fine Southern Rhône red at a value price. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala. (Nov. 29, 2023)

FOOD MATCH: Red meat – beef or lamb or even game – is the customary companion, but it will also work well with roast poultry (think holiday feasts), cheese dishes, a cheese pizza or pasta with tomato-based sauces.

WHEN TO DRINK: Generic Côtes du Rhône isn't known for long aging, but this quality model should hold, or even evolve, in a good cellar through 2025 and possibly beyond. On the other hand, why not enjoy it now, while it's showing so well?

VALUE:
I found it for a dollar less than Wine-Searcher.com's $15 average U.S. retail. In either case, it's an excellent value in the middle teens. The wine could justify a tab several dollars higher, but I'd be wary of a retailer that sought that kind of margin.

WEB LINK:
Here's a detailed English-language fact sheet from Famille Perrin.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Perrin "Nature" Côtes du Rhône on Wine-Searcher.com.

Learn more about Famille Perrin and browse sources for its wines at this Wine-Searcher link.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to read about Côtes du Rhône and find listings for dozens of wines from the region.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Dec 02, 2023 12:23 am

Should see some interesting notes this month, blends I guess will feature.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Jenise » Sat Dec 02, 2023 9:25 pm

Also gathering steam in Washington State. Many top wineries are making high quality versions and getting good prices for them, like $85 for a WeatherEye--and yes, I'm a buyer even at that price. In November there was a big Grenache convention in Walla Walla that I was invited to and sorry to miss. I truly love this grape.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 02, 2023 10:58 pm

Finished off a bottle of the 2019 Charvin Cotes du Rhône tonight. Primarily Grenache, and could be a strong contender for best red wine value on the planet.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Tim York » Sun Dec 03, 2023 8:01 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Finished off a bottle of the 2019 Charvin Cotes du Rhône tonight. Primarily Grenache, and could be a strong contender for best red wine value on the planet.


Viewed from here in France, Southern Rhône (nearly always Grenache dominated) offers just about the most reliable value for money around. Very decent robustly fruity cuvées can be found for about €7 and even less during the Foires aux Vins. Even the region's flagship appellations, namely CndP and Gigondas, do not sell for ridiculous prices (except Rayas). Occasional cuvées of similar QPR can be found in, say, the Bordeaux region but disappointments are also much more common. IMO there is only one aspect where S.Rhône may turn off some consumers, namely high alcohol; less than 14.5% is rare.

There are also some very good blends including Grenache in Languedoc and Roussillon but quality is less reliable and some prices very pretentious, e.g. Hervé Bizeul's Petite Sibérie at around €200. One speciality in Roussillon is the port style VDN (Vin Doux Naturel) made from Grenache when red. Arguably they are even better with chocolate desserts than port due to the raspberry and cherry notes from Grenache.

We don't see much Spanish Garnacha here. Some are delicious but one (the Parker praised Tres Picos) counts as one my worst wines ever!

We will probably be opening quite a few S.Rhône this month as well as a VDN round Christmas so stay tuned.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Jenise » Sun Dec 03, 2023 10:37 am

Tim we see a lot of cheap Spanish grenache here, and Tres Picos (abominable, I agree) is regrettably a supermarket staple. I tend to say to people "you're never wrong about what you like" but in my head I might snicker "but if you like Tres Picos then you really don't like wine." Spanish grenache appeals to people whose requirements are soft, easy and cheap.

But things are changing rapidly at the higher end here. The very good wine shop in my town that didn't have a single bottle of single-variety grenache EXCEPT for $10 Spanish garnachas about 7-8 years ago when I inquired is the same one who sold me the aforementioned $85 WeatherEye.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Dec 04, 2023 9:15 am

NV Pares Balta Cava Pink Brut (Penedès,Sp).

Served at winebar close by, a blend of Grenache and the indigenous grapes, Parellada and Macabeo. Lively and delicate, aromas of strawberry and raspberry. Red fruits intermingle with the crisp acidity and a spicy finish. Nice glass of bubbly with pan-fried pork dumplings.$16 a glass,
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Dec 04, 2023 10:16 am

I went next door where Derek of International Cellars was pouring was pouring a Priorat. Naturally jumped to the task!

2019 Pere Ventura Merum Priorati Inici (Priorat, Spain)
Brilliant, clean, and cherry red in color with a cardinal-red rim. The nose is rich with red fruit, bringing raspberries and red currants to mind, with notes of aniseed. Fresh and fruity on entry, red fruit once again comes to the fore, this time blended with echoes of vanilla from its brief stint in oak. It is well balanced and its mature, velvety tannins usher in a long, elegant finish.Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. To be honest it was a bit of a bruiser without food, big tannins and one small glass was plenty for this diabetic. Rep helped me out quote.....Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. He also enthused>>>>
a lively, medium-bodied red, with bright acidity enlivening dark, ripe notes of black raspberry and black currant fruit, joined by accents of sandalwood, underbrush and singed orange peel.

Price is $42 Cda so much less than other offerings.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Mon Dec 04, 2023 3:35 pm

Priorat was all the buzz back in the early 2000s for some over the top bruiser wines. Put me off the category, and I have never gone back.
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Re: Benchmarks of Grenache - France vs Spain

by win_fried » Thu Dec 07, 2023 8:43 am

On November 25th we had a tasting with a group of 9 people with 8 flights (one white) consisting of a Grenache from France and a Garnacha from Spain The flights were served blind and in the first 5 I got he countries right but failed with the Priorat in the sixth.

Flight 1:
2019 M. Chapoutier Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem Blanc, Cotes des Roussilon 20€: 70% Grenache blanc and 30% Vermentino. White golden color, in the nose some flowers, blossoms, some Vanilla. Balsamic feel. Group voting 86-89 PP with us at the upper end.

2022 Terroir al Limit Terroir Historic, Blanc, Priorat 20€: 70% Garnacha blanca, 30%?, Dark golden color, on the nose flowers and quite fruity, on the palate a bit weak and alcoholic, almost no fruit. Strange for such a young wine. 85 - 87 PP with our vote at the lower end.

Flight 2:
2018 La Casa de Lucolo Lucolo, Navarra, 20€: 100% Garnacha, light red color, nose quite mineral and some terpentine; palate cool minerals and red fruit, slightly bitter towards the end 85 - 88 PP with our vote at the upper end.

2017 Domain Lafage Narassa, Cotes de Catalanes, 14€: 70% Grenache 30% Syrah, light red color, on the nose caramel, red fruit, slightly alcoholic; palate, caramelic and sweet, a bit broad, 85 -86 us at the lower end.

Flight 3:
2018 Comando G El Hombre Bala, Vinos de Madrid, 25€: 70% Garnacha, 30% Carignena, slightly darker light red, nose holding back; palate minerals, dry , elegant, red fruit, slightly bitter, 89-90 PP, we 90.

2018 Danjou-Banessy La Truffiere, Cotes Catalanes, 24€: 100% Grenache, color red, a bit cloudy, nose holding back; palate spontanous, herbal, some berries 90PP

Flight 4:
2019 Domaine Gardies Tautavel Vieilles Vignes, Cotes de Roussilon Villages, 26€: 100% Grenache
dark red color with impressive legs, nose some compote, vanilla (new wood); palate red fruit, slightly alcoholic, wood prominent, 89PP

2018 Domaines Lupier Garnacha Old Vines La Dama Navarra, 29€ 100% Garnacha, light red, nose minerals; palate, minerals, dry, red fruit, 90PP

Flight 5:
2019 Domaine la Soumade Cuvee Confiance, Rasteau, Rhone, 25€ 70% Grenache, color blue red, nose alcoholic, red fruit, wood; palate similar 87-88PP
2017 Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra, Sierra de Gredos, 37€ 100% Garnacha, color brick red, nose some said a bit foul-smelling, lovage, dried herbs; palate meaty,astringent, 88-91 PP, 91 from us.

Flight 6:
2020 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses, Priorat, 35€ 70%Garnacha 17% Carinena, color blue red, nose caramel, sweet; palate sweet, mineral, full bodied, slighly bretty, 87-90PP, 88 from us.
2020 M. Chapoutier La Bernardine Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 40€ color light red; elegant, subtle nose; palate mineral, dry, slightly bitter, red fruit elegant, 90-92 PP us in the middle.

Flight 7:
2010 Palacios Remondo Propriedad, Rioja, 24€ 100% Garnacha, color blue red; nose no notes; palate: red fruit, slightly bitter, alcoholic , sweet , grapey, 92-93 PP, us 92
2009 Pierre Usseglio Cuvee de mon Aieul Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 59€ color cloudy brick red; nose lovage, terpentine; palate sweet and astringent; nevertheless 91-94PP, we 91 with some suspicion about a faulty bottle.

Flight 8:
2009 Domaine dela Janasse, Cuvee Chaupin, 60€ 100% Grenache; color light red; nose mineal, herbs, red fruit; palate lovely red fruit, great 92-95 PP our WOTN
2015 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja, 33€ 100% Garnacha; dark red color; nose wood, vanilla, green, caramel, red fruit; palate some wood and alcohol; 93+-95PP, we didn't like it and passed on the vote.

All noted prices on release, our top 4:
1. 2009 Janasse Cuvee Chaupin
2. 2017 Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra
3. 2010 Palacios Remondo
4. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Blanc

I call "Tres Picos": "cherry pie in a glass with vanilla crumbles", that is not what Spanish Garnacha is all about.

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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Jenise » Fri Dec 08, 2023 2:51 pm

Interesting notes. You remind me that I love the Bernardines and haven't had one in a long, long while. I'm susprised, actually, to reach the end of your comments and see that the Telmo did so well against the others. The actual description didn't seem that complimentary.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by win_fried » Fri Dec 08, 2023 4:03 pm

Probably we are not that good at description. Not everybody liked it as much as we did - me and my wife. We thought it was unique, delicious and lovely. Not a crowdpleaser though.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Fri Dec 08, 2023 5:42 pm

The Palacios Remondo sounds very interesting. I wonder what current vintages cost, and if it can be found in the USA.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Mon Dec 11, 2023 10:14 am

Friends brought over a bottle of 2020 Domaine de Beaurenard CNdP the other night. They had visited the domaine while on one of those Viking River Cruise trips. I had not tasted a bottle of Beaurenard in probably 15 years since I polished off my small stash of 1998s. It was very nice. Extremely drinkable with nothing overdone or hot. Probably better in 3-5 years.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Tim York » Thu Dec 14, 2023 2:22 pm

Here a two good QPR blends (both well under €10) made principally from Grenache and Syrah. The first comes from Pic Saint-Loup located in Languedoc to the north of Montpellier and the second from the northern extremity of the S.Rhône region at Grignan les Adhémar, appellation formerly known as Coteaux du Tricastin until there was an accident at a nearby nuclear power station also bearing the name Tricastin. I don't have precise information about the varietal content of either blend. At Pic Saint-Loup, Syrah usually dominates with Grenache and/or Mourvèdre playing second fiddle with up to 10% of certain other regional varieties being allowed and, at Grignan les Adhémar, it is usually the other way round. From the taste profile of the two wines, which are quite different, I would certainly guess that Syrah dominates the former and Grenache the latter, but obviously terroir and producer style also play a big role.

2022 Vignobles Rambier Pic St. Loup La Bonne Ambiance - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Pic St. Loup (04/12/2023)
This is a suave medium/full offering from Pic St.Loup (Syrah usually at least 50%). Colour is quite deep, the dark berry cherry infused fruit is polished, there are touches of spice and aromatic herbs, adequate acidity for balance and a fairly firm finish. Perhaps a year or two would contribute some complexity but I don't think it built for the long haul. Good.


2022 Comtesse Grignan Grignan-les-Adhémar - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Grignan-les-Adhémar (13/12/2023)
This is an easy drinking wine with plenty of sweetish raspberry and blackberry tinged fruit, a sprinkling of spice and enough acidity and grip on the finish for balance. The overall impression is slightly unctuous but not cloying. Good.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Thu Dec 14, 2023 4:39 pm

I had to Google Grignan-Les-Adhémar. Never heard of it before.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Jenise » Sat Dec 16, 2023 9:39 am

Opened this guy on Wednesday night:

2019 Pášxa Grenache River Rock Vineyard The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater Bright and brooding at the same time. Some flowers on the nose with serious pomegranite fruit, dark cherry and cactus pear. Excellent palate weight, long finish. 15% alcohol sneaks under the radar. Totally luscious. At $80 retail, this isn't for beginners, but wow, what a wine. Abv aside, it offers everything I am loving these days about pure grenache.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 16, 2023 10:00 am

Oof. $80!
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Paul Winalski » Sat Dec 16, 2023 4:05 pm

This thread prompted me to open a bottle of 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Clos du Mont Olivet, perhaps my favorite CnDP producer. It's a delightful wine and just coasting up to its plateau of maturity. I think it needs a few more years to reach its peak, but this was by no means infanticide.

-Paul W.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 16, 2023 4:31 pm

Nice! I really like Mont Olivet as well. Will have to dig out a bottle or two.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by David M. Bueker » Sun Dec 17, 2023 8:57 pm

Opened a 2001 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape tonight, and there is no reason to update my December 2020 tasting note. Open a bottle and fall under its spell.

  • 2001 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/6/2020)
    Walk into an antique shop that also sells dried flowers, and even some old school hard candy sticks. There’s an aroma that is present in every nook and cranny. It’s like whisper, but always there. In the back there’s a room with some boots, and An old horse saddle. Out the back door is a cherry tree, the fruit starting to fall because it hasn’t been picked. A floor board creaks, and the spell is broken.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2023 - Benchmarks of Grenache

by Tim York » Wed Dec 20, 2023 3:08 pm

This is a sturdy red from one of my favourite estates on the French Mediterranean rim. Mas Amiel is best known in France for its port style reds from Grenache in the Maury appellation; these are excellent with chocolate based desserts. In last 15 years or so it has also launched into dry reds from the appellation Maury sec and also from Côtes de Roussillon, as here. This is an entry level cuvée which is found in supermarkets but it is already very good. I opened a bottle yesterday but have nothing to add to a TN I wrote about 2 months ago when I also compared it to a Côtes du Rhône opened the previous day.

2022 Mas Amiel Côtes du Roussillon Pur Schiste - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon (31/10/2023)
This is a very reliable cuvée, which from one year to the next represents good value at c.€10. This one is in the same mould as its predecessors being deep coloured, medium/full bodied, full of berry fruit of savoury complexion laced with orange peel and with earthy minerals and lively acidity leading to decent structure supporting the finish. It is interesting to compare this with X. Vignon's CdRhône which I had the previous day. The Mas Amiel is more savoury, bracing, structured and mineral than the rich and almost jammy Vignon, though grape variety cocktails are similar with more Carignan in the Amiel and more Mourvèdre in the Vignon. I don't think this accounts for the different flavour profile; age come into it with Vignon being two years older but I think the most important factor is regional difference, Roussillon vs S. Rhône. Good+.
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