So out there there exists a magical grenache wine. Rachel has had it twice, and I have tried it once. The only place that we have successfully found it is somewhere in the middle of Maryland, needless to say we haven’t made a return trip and have instead been trying numerous bottles of grenache that haven’t quite been as good. That is until Rachel came back with a bottle yesterday and opened it, it was immediately agreed that it would become our Sunday night wine review.
Grenache (or Grenacha in Spain) is one of the most widely planted grape varietals in the world, it comes predominantly from hot, dry climates and ripens late. It tends to have a high alcohol content and is generally spicy on the palate. Because of this it tends to be blended with other grape varieties, in fact Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a super famous and generally expensive wine from the Southern Rhone) is 80% Grenache.
Wines that are pure grenache are not my, or our, cup of tea at all. They taste like a raisin, or if you are particularly unlucky like an old-persons fruit cake. Hot and spicy in a bad way, like if you’ve ever got on the wrong side of some English mulled wine.
However, the Centenaria comes from northern Spain, within the AOC of Campo de Borja. Although it is 100% Grenache, it comes from 100 year old vines and is then aged in French oak for 3 months, it is during those 3 months that the wine develops its rounded taste. The Centenaria appears cherry red with purple edges. On the nose there is ripe strawberry, black cherry, red cherry and licorice. As the wine opens up, or is just left out for a couple of hours whilst you drink the other glass, it becomes even more fruity and jammy. Overwhelmingly there are the creamy oak notes, with vanilla, from the barrels. It evokes images of picnics on warm, dry rocks in Spain.
When you’ve finished looking at it and smelling it, which let’s face it takes about 30 seconds when you’re in a rush and it’s really on the second glass that you really start thinking about it! Then you get to taste it. On the palate the wine is incredibly complex, initially it is exceptionally fruity with both black and red fruits, there are also toasted notes and a certain minerality. It is the nuanced body and the aftertaste of the wine that make it a pleasure to drink though. Having been aged in the French oak the body is well-rounded and balanced, with the acidity being kept in check.
So although this might not be the magical Grenache wine, it comes pretty close. As such I think it is getting a rating of I’ll take half a case.
Place of Purchase: DCanter in Washington, DC. Retail Price: $24