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by Fred McMillin
Grenache is the second most widely planted variety in the world.
It's a hot-climate vine, that does best on dry, lean hillside soils. There it can make a deliciously quaffable light red wine.
...Giles MacDonogh in Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre
The Rest of the Story
In the Sierra Foothills, winemaker Edgar Coulson has those hot hillsides and produces a "deliciously quaffable" Grenache (pictured). The grapes were grown at an elevation of 1,800 feet, and Edgar preserved the classic strawberry flavors with tender, loving care... no stems allowed in the stainless steel fermenting tanks, no wild yeasts permitted—only predictable Pasteur Red Yeast, just a hint of French oak from six-year-old barrels, and preserving the berry- intense results by avoiding filtration (clarified only with egg whites).
1997 Grenache, El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, Coulson Winery
If this grape is the second most widely planted vine in the world, why don't you see more bottles labeled Grenache on the shelves? Answer: The variety achieved its fame chiefly in blends. The best example is Grenache-dominated Chateauneuf-du-Pape. As for California, Merlot started as a blending grape but now is a dominant varietal on its own. Perhaps you'll see more Grenache labels before long, too. I noticed the tons of Grenache crushed last year jumped 18%, 121,000 in 1997 compared to only 103,000 the previous year.
Note: For more about the Coulson Winery, see the April 29, 1998 WineDay titled "Francly Speaking".
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