Celebrate Garnacha/Grenache - a grape of many names
International Garnacha Grape Day is Friday, Sept. 21. In honor of the day, Maggie is celebrating by putting Garnacha-blend wines on the Wine Cave Tasting Menu. Grown on the Wine Cave property, Garnacha it is used to make a single varietal 2015 Garnacha and 2015 Captain's Cuvée.
What's in a name?
Grenache and Garnacha are the same thing. Calling the same thing by two different names can be confusing, like Syrah and Shiraz.
The Garnacha/Grenache grape is grown on both sides of the Pyrenees, the mountain range that separates France from Spain. On the southern side in Spain, they call it Garnacha; on the northern side in France, they call it Grenache.
Although the French pronunciation of Grenache is the most popular, the grape actually started out as Garnacha. Garnacha originated in Aragon, a region in northern Spain, where it it once was known as the Red of Aragon (Tinto Aragonés). Spain still is where you can find some of the best, most affordable Garnacha.
The earliest mention of Garnacha is believed to appear in 1513 in a text by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera called Agricultura General. Back then it was known as Aragones — a synonym still used today — that described a “black-berried variety from Madrid.”
Whatever you call it, Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It is blended into many wines, like the French Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is mixed with Syrah and Mourvedre. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine is a favorite of Mark (Maggie's husband).
In fact, Mark grew the GSM grapes and asked winemaker Maggie to create her version of the iconic French classic. Maggie has the only estate-grown Garnacha, Syrah, Mourvedre blend that at we know of in Virginia. It is called Captain's Cuvée - and it is an award winner. Both of Maggie's 2014 and 2015 Captain's Cuvée vintages have garnered medals.
"Captain" is a nod to Mark's days as a U.S. Navy and commercial airline pilot; "cuvée" is the French word for blend.
Try both - the 2015 Captain's Cuvée and 2015 Garnacha - in the Wine Cave in honor of International Garnacha Day!