Garnacha & Grenache: A Grape with Depth and Diversity!

Vinexpo was in NYC this year and for those in the wine and beverage trade that enjoy tasting wines from all over the world, meeting producers, and attending master classes, it’s an event not to miss. One of my favorite seminars was on the grape Garnacha, which is also known as Grenache in France. This grape is one of the most widely planted red varietals in the world, that ripens late and does well in hot, dry climates.

I really enjoy Garnacha and the seminar at Vinexpo was very helpful and informative. We dove into wines for: “D.O.P. Cariñena Brings the Global Garnacha Experience to VinExpo New York”  The historic birthplace of Garnacha hosted a Regional Pavilion and Master Class with Pedro Ballesteros, MW. Here we explored this grape which is planted all over the world, in many different wines, while learning about the environments in which it thrives!

After an enjoyable day at Vinexpo exploring all the Garnacha I could get my hands on, I was off to a dinner with Sopexa, where we explored more Garnacha aka Grenache. We enjoyed a dinner of Spanish Cuisine paired with this lovely grape varietal, with wines from Spain and France.

We started off with some cheese and charcuterie paired with 2014 Las Moradas de San Martin Garnacha which was bold and spice driven with nice blackberry and cherry notes. It’s a nice wine that also went beautifully with the Octopus served on a bed of Potato Creme and Parsnip Chips! This dish was intense and creamy, with just the right amount of spice and salt to pair nicely with this wine as well as the 2015 Domaine Gardies AOP Cotes du Roussiollon.

After the octopus we were served some beautiful Lamb Chops with Cauliflower Cous Cous, Spring Onions, and Spinach. This dish was paired with another beautiful wine from Spain, 2015 Bodegas San Valero, Particular Old Vine Garnacha. Lamb and Garnacha are essentially a match made in heaven. This is because lamb tends to be richer and gamey and when cooked properly

After the lamb came one of my favorite Spanish dishes, Smoked Chorizo Bechamel Croquettes! This dish was served with 2016 Bodegas Paniza Vinas Viejas de Paniza.

Lastly we enjoyed Warm Chocolate Mousse with homemade Blood Orange Gelato and Caramelized Hazelnut paired with the Les Vignerons de Constance & Terrassous AOP Rivesaltes Amber Hors d’Age 12. 

This was an incredible day full of wonderful wines from both Spain and France! From the morning seminar at Vinexpo, to trying more Garnacha on the floor of the Javitz Center, and then this dinner. Have you had the pleasure of tasting Garnacha or Grenche? I’m sure you have even if you didn’t know the wine was made from this grape. It’s so widely planted and blends extremely well in many wines!

Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love. Please pair responsibly!

Sara Lehman

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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