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Jul 3, 2010 07:08 PM

suggestions needed: Cannonau or Grenache mix -- relative newbie

We've recently tried to be consistent wine drinkers (one or two glasses a day) after reading in Michael Pollan's work about the value of moderate wine consumption. In particular, acting on a lead from the Blue Zones book, we tried a Sardinian Cannonau that was quite nice, but had to be special ordered by our wine seller here in Baltimore. Since then we've experimented with Garnacha (Grenache) from Spain and some mixes. The Spanish Grenache were much too strong for us (for example the Tres Picos tasted more like cough syrup to us), but some of the mixes from other countries have been quite nice (e.g. the Torbreck "Cuvee Juveniles" w/Grenache/Mataro/Shiraz from Australia). Are there other mixes that you'd recommend?

We considered some of the French blends, but they seem to be priced about double the Italian and the Australian wines in this category and we'd like to be in the $15-30 or so price range.

Our local wine store is quite good, but we're curious to learn more and are open to suggestions.

Here's a link that may be of interest related to our post:

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  1. Not a blend, but Lettie Teague recently gave the 2009 Evodia a positive review in the Wall Street Journal.

    I haven't been able to find the 2009 in my area, but I have seen other vintages (2007 and 2008) at BevMo and Cost Plus World Market.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bayareabeagle

      I found the 2007 Evodia in Baltimore, so we'll give that a try -- the 2009 I'm also not finding around here-- thanks!

    2. It is extremely difficult -- though not impossible -- to spend over $30 on a Côtes-du-Rhône blend. Most are in the $8-15 range.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zin1953

        Yes, we'll have to give that a try (see below as well). Our wine seller had suggested that we pass on the Cotes-du-Rhone and look at the Chateauneuf du Pape as our alternative.

      2. «The Spanish Grenache were much too strong for us (for example the Tres Picos tasted more like cough syrup to us)»

        Don't write off all Spanish Grenaches based on the Tres Picos. Like you, I find it heavy and overwrought. But the same winery's Borsao is a decent (if industrial) quaffer -- light, bright and fruity -- and cheap to boot.

        My favourite easy-drinking Grenache comes from just across the border, in France's Côtes Catalanes: Domaine du Rouge Gorge's Jeunes Vignes bottling. 100% Grenache from 25-year-old (which constitutes young in those parts) biodynamically farmed vines, made into wine using native yeasts and non-interventionist methods. Not easy to find and not the cheapest by any means but worth seeking out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell

          Hi Carswell,

          I've searched in Baltmore for the Domaine du Rouge Gorge and it's not in our area. I'll add it to our list and maybe next time we're in NY area or California, I'll remember to try it out. If you happen to think of any others that we might find in this area, in addition to the Borsao, that would be good. Thanks for your reply.

        2. It's not explicitly clear in this post, so I wanted to make sure you knew Cannonau is what they call grenache in Sardinia.
          Kermit Lynch imports a nice one, but the names slips my mind right now.
          Spanish grenache from the Priorat can be cheap, although it usually isn't. It's distinctive because it often has a pleasant coffee flavor.
          One especially good value I just tried recently is the 2007 Bodegas La Cartuja Priorat. It's about $15 a bottle, or less, and remarkably good. It's imported by Ole Imports, who have also imported some nice, inexpensive Spanich grenache under the Vinos Sin-Ley name.

          3 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko

            Hi Steve,

            Thanks for your reply! Yes, we did realize that Cannonau is grenache, sorry if that had not been clear in the original post. It's hard to find the Cannonau in Baltimore, so that's why we've been trying to find other wines that have a similar flavor and similar price-range. We'll check out your suggestions -- it's exactly what we'd hoped with the posting to get some other names to look for in the Baltimore area --

            1. re: tb_baltimore

              Just a note that we tried the Onix Priorat tonight and really enjoyed it -- the blend is 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan -- it made for a good nose with a nice taste of coffee and raspberry, at least for us. A good suggestion. We'll be trying some other Priorats in the future --

          2. I'm really puzzled by the claim that French grenache blends are priced "about double" their Italian and Australian counterparts: this is overlooking the great glories of the entire Cotes du Rhone family, from a simple Cotes du Ventoux quaffer to a great Gigondas. And there are many, many great values to be had--certainly surpassing anything Italy can do--for under $30. Try searching Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Lirac, Vacqueyras, and Cotes du Rhone Villages on CH. Then there are the Languedoc Roussillon gems, all with grenache in their blends, in Minervois, St. Chinian, Montpeyroux, etc. Kermit Lynch's catalog is a great place to start (and finish). I love Cannonau, but it's all by itself against France's amazing range, which, for me at least, satisfies every grenache jones I have.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bob96

              Hi Bob96, Thanks for your comment -- I did look up some of your suggestions and they are in the price range that we're considering. The wine merchant was pointing us to things like the following:

              ($42.99 Chateauneuf du Pape, Mas de Boislauzon 2007),
              ($44.99 Chateauneuf du Pape, Lafond "Roc Epine" 2007),
              ($46.99 Chateauneuf du Pape, Bosquet de Papes "Tradition" 2007)
              ($56.99 Chateauneuf du Pape, Olivier Hillaire "Cuvee Classic" 2006)
              ($57.99 Chateauneuf du Pape, Pierre Usseglio & Fils 2007)

              We'll give a try to some of your Cotes du Rhone family, especially starting with the Gigondas. As I'd mentioned we're still learning, so this is excellent to have some suggestions for things to try in the price range that we're hoping for -- thanks!