You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Grenache’ tag.

Grenache Strawberry Jam, not only the name of one of the most complete and visceral albums from Animal Collective but a tasting note found in one of the finest Californian Grenaches I had the pleasure of evaluating with my Tuesday tasting group.

The subject was Garnacha—oddly enough, after the reveal, no Spanish wines were found—and the 2010 Amor Fati Grenache emerged as a clear-cut winner.

Among Gigondas and Cannanau di Sardegna, my favorite wine of the night was born a few hours north, in Santa Maria Valley. The noticeable difference in color–medium ruby—had me intrigued from the start. The bouquet had a medium-plus intensity showing strawberry jam and lightly crushed raspberries—lavender, black pepper, leather and dried flowers. An effeminate perfume translated to a clean and exciting wine with medium body, medium-plus alcohol (pleasantly warm), medium-plus acidity and medium tannins (fine grained on the gums) that exploded with a medium-plus flavor intensity of a red fruit core balanced by dried herbs, flowers and cracked pepper.

Relative to the other Grenache of the night, once it was revealed we were stunned to find that this was a domestic expression. It was tense yet balanced, showing a lot of restraint from the winemaker’s hand while wringing out the most of an incredibly attractive red wine that was suitable for aging. A bit outside of our stated price range but well worth it—I would strongly recommend finding this bottle of Amor Fati Grenache.

After a burger snafu on Friday night that saw my dreams dashed of pairing a recently acquired Australian bottle of Grenache with a great burger from a bar in Venice, I had to scramble to find a replacement on a Sunday afternoon (although I did see my Ducks cruise to a 6-0 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets). I had given the decision some thought and a little research on the pages of Yelp, selecting a first choice that happened to be closed on Sundays , alas, but luckily there was another burger joint a couple minutes west on Venice Boulevard.

Sunny Grill, the other choice, looked promising with a nice décor and a steady stream of customers frequenting the drive-in and a bunch more on the inside, it was beginning to look like I stumbled upon a great find.  I ordered a hamburger with a side of zucchini fries ($7.89) to go.

I traveled up the road searching for the perfect spot to enjoy the burger and wine without drawing too much liquor-phototaking attention to my roommate or myself. I parked and began setting up the camera, rummaging through the tote carrying my flask, glassware and other drinking accoutrements and finally getting to the burger and zucchini all in the comfy confines of a Lexus.

As I poured the contents of the flask—2007 Epicurean Bistro Grenache—I snacked on the hot zucchini. Each bite bland but piping hot, made me pant frantically to keep my mouth from burning. The lack of seasoning left the melted innards of the battered zucchini wanting; just blah on the palate.

The Grenache (#496) was redolent of muddled ripe blackberries, woody notes and a crack of pepper. On the palate the wine was tannic and full-bodied with more black fruit and pepper.

After the few zucchini fries I had, my expectations declined, uncertain about what the burger had in store for me. I unwrapped it tentatively, spying a flattened bun with a razor-thin patty, lettuce, pickles, a tomato and some spread. These guys were not aiming for the best presentation but I was going to reserve judgment.

The first bite was mediocre—it was a second choice—and I reached for the glass of Grenache to wash it down. The heat (alcohol) in the wine was accentuated by the burger but the other structural components meshed. The burger was average but a definite improvement from the tasteless fries.

The wine seemed to rally late with the help of the surroundings: a friend to share it with, a lot of sun and some enjoyable music, compliments of Ry Cooder, the day transformed into a summer afternoon—carefree.

The trek didn’t produce the best results from a food and wine standpoint but it was fun to the hit pavement again, searching for that flawless burger and wine pairing.

Click to subscribe to the Maverick Palate and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 856 other subscribers

Wine of the Month

Roumier Morey St. Denis 'Clos de la Bussiere' 2008

Eatery of the Month


Jesse's Camarones Restaurant

Musical Accompaniment

Glenn Kotche’s ‘Ping Pong Fumble Thaw’  by The Brooklyn Rider Almanac