Why doesn’t everyone love Grenache?
A new bottling from Stag's Hollow has us thinking about the grape's bright future in Canada.
2012 Stag’s Hollow Grenache $30
I was at dinner last week with an owner of a very famous, very well regarded winery in Southern Italy and talk, as usual, turned to what other wines he likes to drink when he’s not drinking his own. The usual answer here is Burgundy or Piedmont, with some outliers saying they love German riesling or Bordeaux. What they don’t generally say is what my new friend said: “Grenache.” He said he orders it whenever he sees it on a wine list. His preference was grenache from the Southern Rhone (it’s often a key component in Chateauneuf du Pape) but he said he order a garanacha from Spain’s Priorat region or a field grenache from Australia over any other non-grenache.
At that time I would have killed to have a bottle of Stag’s Hollow Grenache, which, as far as I know, is the only Grenache grown in Canada. He would had loved it, of course—it’s a ripe take on the grape with a plummy colour and a great soft blast of raspberries with some cinnamon and slight baking spices for complexity. It has none of the uneven hallmarks one expects from a pioneering effort like this: the balance is spot on and there’s no alcohol burn despite the wine’s healthy 14.5% alcohol. Owners Larry Gerelus and Linda Pruegger and winemaker Dwight Sick are really on the forefront of pushing the Okanagan on thinking about what grapes might work in our climate and terrior and thank God for that. I can plough through ten glasses of forgettable Pinot Gris if I know there’s one glass of unique passion project like this waiting for me at the end.