Je gardais ma botte secrète bien au chaud. Je dégaine ! Tire sans sommation. Mais non, je suis un gentleman : « messieurs les anglais tirez les premiers ! » Je laisse ma plume acérée à Susy Atkins. C'est en l'année 2000, juste avant que je n'écrive mon rapport. Même que j'ai cité Susy Atkins dans la conclusion de celui-ci mais comme le dit Hervé "je n'aime pas l'anglais" Désolé la maison n'a pas les moyens de se payer une traduction simultanée. Si Michel veut s'y coller ou David...
The Big Yin
There isn’t red variety that brings such wild, untamed exuberance to the world of wine as Grenache. It’s a Billy Connolly among grapes: big, bold end crude but somehow friendly, loveable end appealing. No surprise that it’s the second most widely planted vine on the planet.
The reign of Spain
The days, Grenache is seen as a southern French variety, at home on the southern Rhône delta, Roussillon and along the Mediterranean coast. In fact, like Mourvèdre, it was originally from Spain and spread into France as the kingdom of Aragon expander its borders, which seems a very civilised way to take over another country. Yup, Garnacha is Grenache.
So why isn’t it famous?
It’s been planted the “wrong” places. Grenache as been seen as a blender, with none the finesse of Bordeaux or Burgundy varieties. It’s another Mediterranean grape that’s been sneered at by the wine snobs who believed that only Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir were capable of making top-quality wine – remember Syrah as only recently been accepted into the premier league.
There’s another problem. Get low-yielding, dry-farmed old Grenache vines end you have a wine that’s packed full of sweet, rich, chocolatey, spicy, black-fruited flavours. Trouble eis, it’s been planted in irrigated areas where producers either wanted high-yielding for table wine or super-ripe raisins for fortified production. Result ? Most Grenache/Garnacha is thin in fruit, light, light in colour, and, unfortunately, weedy in flavour.
Moving on up
Recently there’s been a revival. The Rhône has become hip, big flavours are in, and now quality winemakers using the simple formula of old vines, no irrigation, low yields and careful handling are showing that Grenache can make exuberant, exciting wines. They may not last as long as Syrah but boy, are they fun mouthful.