The first ever International Grenache Day was variously celebrated in India, in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi. Jyoti Thottam South Asia Bureau Chief for Time Inc attended the Grenache wine tasting and dinner at the home of the publisher of Sommelier India WINE magazine in Delhi.
Grenache is one of those hidden treasures, but many wine lovers may not even be aware of how important it is to the world’s winemakers. It lends its silkiness to the powerful wines of the Rhône Valley, including Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas; it’s the G in the classic “GSM” formula of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre in the southern Rhône and the New World’s Rhône Rangers; and its bright fruit livens up some of the dignified, carefully structured wines of Spain’s Rioja and Priorat regions.
So why not give this grape its due? That was the inspiration for the first International Symposium on the Grenache grape in La Verrière, Rhône Valley, France in June of this year. The conference brought together wine experts and winemakers from all over the world, including Sommelier India‘s own Reva Singh, who flew the flag for India’s wine lovers. It ended with a resolution to celebrate International Grenache Day on September 24, marked in Delhi at her home with a Grenache tasting and dinner that was as fittingly lively as the grape itself.
We tried three wines which are available in Delhi, through Hops Marketing, India, and Brindco Limited, respectively – Château St. Jacques d’Albas 2006 (Rs. 2200) and Domaine St. Jacques d’Albas 2008 (Rs. 1650) from the Minervois; and Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache 1998 (Rs. 5866) from Blewitt Springs Vineyard in Australia. They were set off beautifully by the inventive, boldly spiced food from the Manor Hotel’s Indian Accent restaurant. The chef’s foie gras gulati kebabs and Grenache may be a combination to rival foie gras with Sauternes! I had a chance to debate that point among other pressing matters of the day with guests including Jug and Bunny Suraiya.
One intriguing possibility emerged from the evening: Grenache grows well in warm climates. With a little clever canopy management, why not India? So here’s hoping we will have a chance to taste some Indian Grenache, including Sula’s Mosaic, next year.
See you on September 24, 2011!