Remy, at The Wine Case, hosts this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday. The theme? North vs. South. So tonight, the Wooden Guys and I will be looking at Garnacha from Spain and Grenache from Australia. I am just going to compare first nights for both. The wines will be reviewed over two nights individually.
First, the Garnacha:
2005 Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo Garnacha Cariñena Menguante
Producer Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo
This has a powerful nose, full of blackberry, mulberry, and orange peel.
The palate is extraordinarily complex for an under $10 wine. It starts with blackberries and pepper, then adds orange peel, intense spices and licorice. The wine is medium-bodied and tannins are smooth, adding leather to the finish. The finish is long.
This is absurdly good for an under $10 wine. Is it great? No, not really. Is it great on a price to quality ratio? Heck yeah. Come back on Night Two to see it it stands up.
And now, the Grenache:
2005 Yangarra Estate Grenache Old Vine
Producer Yangarra Estate
Designation Old Vine
Region South Australia
Appellation McLaren Vale
The nose opens with some jammy dark fruit, mostly elderberry, with black pepper, earth and brambles. It also has an underlying lingering licorice aroma.
The palate is very true to the nose. The wine opens with jammy dark elderberry and black pepper. It has earth and brambles, giving it underlying depth and keeping it from qualifying as a "fruit bomb." Licorice is more pronounced on the palate than the nose. A bit of dried orange peel appears on the mid-palate. The finish is mid-length and trends away from the fruit and toward black pepper and orange peel.
North versus South
The first obvious difference is the price difference. The Garnacha is under $10, while the Australian Grenache is over $25. The Australian is not two-and-a-half times better than the Spanish. In fact, I think I like the Spanish one better. It is more balanced, offers a far more interesting and entertaining nose, and has a better mid-palate. In the Spanish wine, and Spain is a warm weather country, too, the fruit is not big and jammy. Tannins and acid balance nicely, and the different tastes balance out. On the other hand, the mulberry dominates in the Australian wine, while everything else plays second-fiddle.
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