Grenache is a grape variety that does extremely well in Arizona. I frequently direct Pinot Noir lovers to try our Arizona Grenache. Grenache or Garnacha as it is called in Spain, is renowned in Rioja, Spain and the Rhone Valley of France. It also grows extensively in the United State and Australia. It is frequently used as a blending grape with Syrah and Mourvedre. However, you’ll frequently find it is a wonderful single varietal wine in Arizona.
I bought a bottle of the Keeling Schaefer 2016 Two Reds Grenache on my Wilcox trip, a blend of 92% Grenache and 8 % Syrah. The color was a beautiful Ruby Rose. It showcased luscious aromas of dark cherry, oak, smoke and melon. The palate had a delightful velvety feel with additional flavors of strawberry, raspberry and pepper. The finish was around 16 seconds. The winemakers also note additional flavors of sage, prickly pear and incense. The wine has 14.2% alcohol and is one of my favorite Grenaches in the state and 319 cases were produced. At under $20 a bottle, it’s a real steal! If you’re a Pinot Noir lover, it’s time to give this Grenache a try.
On a recent visit to the newly opened Bodega Pierce, I was thrilled to have both a light flight and bold flight. So what is a Bodega? It could be a cellar, grocery store, wine shop, bar, a place to store coffee or even a vineyard. Many of the vineyards I visited in Medoza, Argentina had Bodega in their names.
It was exciting to see the 2017 Malvasia Bianca on the light flight menu. The 2017 is quite different than the 16 for it has lovely notes of gooseberry. Also, on the light flight was a delightful Chardonnay ML, Grenache Rose’, the Athena, a delicious blend of Grenache, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo (one that I purchased) and the Emotiva, a super Tuscan style blend.
The bold flight included a GSM, Merlot, Graciano and Gallia, a Cabernet forward and Merlot, Bordeaux style blend. The other wine I sampled that was not on the bold flight was the 100% Cabernet Franc, which I also ended up purchasing. Each wine I tasted was excellent and I wish I had it in my budget to purchase all of them! Bodega Pierce is now open Thursday thru Sunday, so I hope you have the opportunity to stop by the new Bodega!
Last night for Thanksgiving, I decided to pair the Turkey and side dishes with a lovely Arizona Grenache. Arizona Grenache is a special treat and an excellent alternative to Pinot Noir. However, when I opened the Grenache it had cork taint! Cork taint is a mold called 2,4,6 Trichloroanisole or TCA with odors of mold and must. It sometimes smells like a moldy basement. This fault can occur in up to 8% of bottles. The mold is destructive and can also permeate any part of a winery including barrels and walls and even end up in a screw top wine!
Since the Grenache was undrinkable, I decided to open another bottle. This time I chose an Arizona Viognier, which should have paired well with the Turkey, however, this Viognier was smooth when it hit the tip of my tongue but the became quite harsh as it hit the back of my tongue. It was such a disappointment and did not pair well with the delicious dinner. At this point, after cooking all day, I was too tired and frustrated to open a 3rd bottle.
There are fabulous leftovers galore in the house, so tonight, I’ll either open a Pinot Noir, another Viognier or a French Rose’ which I have stashed away. So wish me luck! I hope you had better luck with your Thanksgiving wine and I hope that your leftovers enjoy a taint free wine.
The 3rd Thursday of November is the release of Beaujolais Nouveau in the Burgundy region of France. This year it falls on November 15th. Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the Gamay grape and frequently served on Thanksgiving. This year is purported to be an excellent year for Beaujolais in France. The grapes are fermented for only a few weeks and then bottled. The release of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in France with major festivities including music and fireworks. Georges Duboeuf is a popular brand seen in American stores, however this is not a wine that you want to age, so I’d recommend drinking it within a few months.
If you’re not a Beaujolais Nouveau fan, why not try a delicious Arizona Grenache, Pinot Noir or Rose. Yes, we do grow Pinot Noir in Arizona! Bodega Piece and Page Springs have excellent ones. For Grenache, try one from Pillsbury. For Rose, most of our wineries have a rose and Merkin has a variety of them. For my table, an Arizona Grenache will be accompanying this year’s turkey.
I was excited to try a new Pinotage for my wine of the week. Up to now the Nederburg Pinotage has been my go to Pinotage, but this week I tried the Spier 2015 Pinotage, which hales from Stellenbosch, South Africa. The Vineyard was established in 1692.
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut or Hermitage which was developed in South Africa in 1925, yet the taste seems nothing like either wine and reminds me more of a Tannat. The juice was cold soaked for 2 days and fermented in stainless steel tanks. 20% was aged in French oak with the balance aged in stainless steel tanks.
The color was a beautiful inky ruby and the nose offered aromas of smoke, tobacco and cherry. It was quite tannic and the palate had similar notes with the addition of some earth. What was very surprising, was how the flavor and aroma really changed upon opening. After about an hour most of the smoke disappeared leaving a velvety wine with lovely flavors of blackberry and current. The wine has 14.5% alcohol and around a 22 second finish. I paired it with shredded beef and at under $12, this is a great buy.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.