Oregon Grenache worth seeking out

| September 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

One of the wonderful things about living in Oregon and having friends who enjoy wine is that we all love to talk about our favorite wines and recommend them to others.

You can’t be blind to the overwhelming love and devotion to pinot noir, pinot gris and riesling in Oregon, but there are many of us who are warming up to the idea of warm-weather varietals such as Grenache.

Sept. 21 was International Grenache Day, and I took the liberty of reacquainting myself with this gem.

Grenache is among the most widely planted red-wine grape varieties in the world, but it needs hot and dry conditions. This makes it a perfect varietal for Southern Oregon, where the weather is warmer than up here in the Willamette Valley.

According to the Professional Friends of Wine, Grenache makes fleshy, heady, very fruity wines in their youth, and they tend to age rapidly.

It’s typically blended with Syrah and Mourvèdre, but it’s also used to make rosé wines in Spain and France, especially in the Côtes du Rhône region of France.

One of my favorite Oregon wines made from Grenache is the Abacela Grenache Rosé. The winery, down in the Umpqua Valley in Roseburg, also makes a straight-up red with this grape. The rosé tastes of watermelon and raspberries and is a great wine to drink chilled on a hot day.

Cowhorn Vineyard, a biodynamic winery making Rhône-style wines in the Applegate Valley, also has a wonderful Grenache and Grenache rosé.

Agate Ridge in the Rogue Valley and J. Scott Cellars down in Eugene also make a lovely Grenache.

As in all these cases, the quanity of Grenache wine made in Oregon is miniscule compared to the cool-climate varietals that are heavily produced in our part of the valley, but the good news is that if you’re game to try them, all of these wines are distributed in our area, though you may need to make a special request to the wine steward at your favorite grocery store or order it through Santiam Wine Co.


Category: Wine/Wineries

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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