Grenache by any other name...
Wines made from identical grapes can often taste different, subtly if the wines come from different parts of the same vineyard or profoundly if they come from different parts of the world. Here are six different wines made from a single variety of grape: if the wine is French, the grape is Grenache; if the wine is Spanish, it’s Garnacha; if the wine is Sardinian, it's Cannonau di Sardegna. And it’s winemaker’s choice what to call it in US.
S C Pannell, Basso Garnacha McLaren Vale 2019
94 points Wine Enthusiast
"Basso deftly demonstrates Winemaker Steve Pannell's red wine prowess. Medium weight with quiet power and elegance, it's a heady mix of plump brambly berries, woodsy spice, violets and stony minerals. The purity of fruit, fresh acidity and chiseled tannins make for hearty yet refreshing drinking."
Region: McLaren Vale Country: Australia
Alta Vita, Cannonau di Sardegna 2017
Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavors and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round and fruit forward.
Region: Sardegna Country: Italy
Bodegas Jimenez Landi, Sotorrondero 2015
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2015 Sotorrondero is a blend of Garnacha with 30% Syrah from Méntrida aged in a mixture of 500-liter barrels and 1,500- and 3,000-liter oak foudres for ten months. It's clean, floral and expressive, with notes of violets and red berries. The profile is more of the Garnacha, with little influence from the Syrah. The palate shows ripe fruit, but it's fluid, with granite minerality and a supple finish. 20,760 bottles produced. It was bottled in August 2016."
Region: Mentrida Country: Spain
Celler de Capçanes, "Mas Donis" Old Vines Montsant 2018
91 points Jeb Dunnuck
"Blueberries, violets, crushed rocks, peppery spice, and floral notes all emerge from the 2018 Montsant Mas Donis Old Vines, which tastes like a baby Priorat. Rich and medium to full-bodied, it offers an elegant, seamless texture, light tannins, and a great finish."
Region: Montsant Country: Spain
Domaine Fond Croze, "Romanaise" Cotes du Rhone Villages 2020
91-93 points Jeb Dunnuck
"Not yet bottled, the 2020 Côtes Du Rhône Villages Vaison-La-Romaine Romanaise is all Grenache brought up in used barrels. It has a cooler climate vibe in its bright strawberry, black raspberry, candied violets, and white pepper aromatics, and this carries over to the palate, where the wine is well-structured, medium-bodied, and nicely focused."90+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2019 Evodia is pure Garnacha from old head-pruned vines in the Sierra Santa Cruz in Calatayud. It fermented with around 20% full clusters in concrete and matured mostly in concrete with just 20% of the blend put in used oak barrels for three months. There is a component that matured in concrete egg that I was able to taste separately that seems to bring a touch of freshness to the final blend, something welcomed in a warm year like 2019, which seems like a fresher version of 2017, when the wines achieved quite good ripeness. The nose opens up nicely in the glass and is quite aromatic and floral, exuberant, with a heady touch of ripe fruit. It's young and tasty, tender and pleasant to drink, with a forward personality. A real bargain. I hope there are more wines like this in Aragon, where the wealth of Garnacha vineyards would make it possible quite easily."
Region: Cotes du Rhone Country: France
Domaine Lafage, Cuvee Nicolas Vieilles Vignes 2020
"Full bottle 1,410 g. Certified HVE. 100% Grenache, with the fruit coming from two sites – Maury (black fruit) and Espira (red-fruit profile – they pick really early at this site). Average age of the vines is 65 years. Named after their son (who is now 18), when he was born they wanted to make a wine that reflected his personality. Jean-Marc Lafarge's eye twinkle and he laughs rather wickedly: 'He was a fat baby! Gained one kg every month and at one year was like a sumo wrestler! So, we thought, the wine should be a bit big, a bit generous, smiley.' He assures me that his son is now slim. The wine is aged in very old concrete tanks with walls one metre thick.
Gorgeously fruity nose and masses of pure, lavishly red shiny fruit. This is a delight. Peppery freshness, the sweetness of the fruit so well balanced by an orange-citric tang and a subtle tangle of dry herbs and cool liquorice root. Carrying its 15% alcohol with consummate ease. So easy, so approachable, but far from simple. (TC)" 17/20 points.
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon Country: France