Getty Images stock
Grenache is a nice complement to red meat and pork dishes.
I’ve been on a roll in recent weeks finding excellent $10 wines and was surprised to come across yet another great value the other day. Among hearty reds, grenache deserves more attention as a go-to wine for red meats and pork. The late-ripening grape thrives in hot climates. It’s grown widely in southern France, where it is usually blended with syrah and other so-called Rhone varieties, and in Spain, where it is often bottled on its own.
In fact, it was a Spanish wine, the 2010 Lelia Garnacha, as the grape is called there, that impressed me with its unusual complexity for the $10 price. As I tasted it, I guessed that this wine was about twice as expensive. The producer, Bodegas Sucesores de Manuel Piquer, is in the small Cariñena area of northeast Spain, where garnacha is the most widely planted variety.
It is distinctive wines like this one from such lesser-known regions that give Spain its well-deserved reputation for value. This one has exceptional fruit, with concentrated black cherry and blackberry tastes, a good deal of spice and a note of semi-sweet chocolate. The wine is aged without oak, which accounts for its fruity and accessible character.
Grenache can be big and brawny. This one, with alcohol at a modest 13.5 percent, is both interesting and easy to drink, which is exactly what I look for in $10 wine. Imported by Frontier Wine Imports, Dover, N.J.
Grenache is also an important variety in Australia and, increasingly, in California. Another top new release comes from Beckmen Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. Beckmen’s 2010 Estate Grenache, which sells for about $24, is a lovely, medium-bodied wine with raspberry and blackberry tastes and cocoa and cinnamon notes. It’s notable for its bright fruit character and its perfect balance.
Want more suggestions? Today on Vint-ed, I review another wine from California, Gainey Vineyard’s 2010 Chardonnay.
More from TODAY Food:
- Beer-curious? 7 ways to discover new brews
- Rethink riesling: Try a dry wine from Germany
- For a hearty beef stew, a winning $12 Argentine cabernet