Tag Archives: Grenache wine

Birichino Grenache

Cost: Average price $20

Where buy now: Sunfish Cellars & Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: Grenache

Region: California

Vintage: 2010

Birichino Grenache

Grenache lovers: unite!

I’ve found my favorite American Grenache in this bottle of Birichino. [biri-kino]

I first had this at Sunfish Cellars by the glass ($4/glass!). It’s a wine that haunts you, though not in a “Poltergeist” sort of way. You can’t get it out of your head. Yes, this is a wine you’re going to love instantly.

When I saw it was from California, I assumed this was going to be very alcoholic, ripe with sweet cherry flavors- indicitive of “New World” wine making. Man, was I taken aback when I tasted it! This wine tastes far more “Old World” to me. “Old World”, “New World”?  What is THAT you’re saying? Is that anything like “Red Fish, Blue Fish”?

I shan’t assume we all know what that means. “Old World” refers to wines made in Europe. “New World” refers to wines made in, well, NOT Europe. North or South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. . .basically, anywhere that is not Europe [who ever said wine making wasn’t Eurocentric?].  Wine Folly does a great job of breaking it down for you: http://winefolly.com/review/new-world-vs-old-world-wine//Old World vs. New World

This Birichino Grenache gives great, bright cherry scents right off the bat. The flavors of that bright cherry and strawberry explode on your tongue along with some herbal hints. This Grenache evokes layers of spice and smoke with a soft tang; not acidic but more in a way that tea evokes layers of flavor. While subtle, it’s well enough to know it’s there.

I’ve seen Birichino Grenache for around $20, maybe a couple bucks less if it’s on sale.  If you are a lover of Grenache, though, don’t even hesitate to plunk down the money for this bottle. Pick it up at Sunfish Cellars or Zipp’s and let me know how much you love me for introducing you to this wine!

Altovinum Evodia Garnacha

Cost: Average $9.99

Where buy now: Costco – $6.99

Grapes: 100% Garnacha

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2010

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Altovinum Evodia
Altovinum Evodia

I’m going to preface this review by saying I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love this wine. I could probably stop there, right?

Grenache or Garnacha? WTF? In short, “Garnacha” (Gar-nah-cha) is Spanish, “Grenache” (pronounce it gren-awsh so you don’t sound like a boob] is both English and French. Spanish Garnacha contains 100% Garnacha/Grenache grapes. The French blend Grenache grapes with other grapes to give you varietals such as Cote de Rhone or the ever so popular AND expensive Chateauneuf-du-Pape (shat-en-uhf-doo-pahp). I’ve also seen blends from Australia, commonly seen as “GSM” which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (moo-veh-dray).

I’ve been enjoying Garnacha for a couple of years now. Garnacha seems to be both palatable and in my price range. I came across Altovinum Evodia at my local Muni [remember Muni=St. Anthony Village Wines & Spirits] on sale for $8.99! Zang! I’m not going to lie, I was drawn to the blue label gleaming in the florescent store lights, it definitely sticks out on the shelf. Perhaps I’m just drawn to pretty shiny things, attribute that to undiagnosed A.D.D. if you want. Beyond the esthetic of the label, let’s pop that cork and get down to business, shall we?

Mmm. . .Oooh. . ., Oh. . .Uh-huh, that’s the stuff. This, my friends, is damn good wine. It is deep red in color and silky; soft and round yet bold with peppery raspberry, blackberry and cherry flavors. It has a nice finish (yes, I swallowed) that lingers long enough to make you want to go back for more. From the Calatayud region of Spain. Read up, it’s the new sexy place to go.

If you like Garnacha but can’t get to Costco nor want to pay $9.99, pick this Castillo de Monseran Garnacha up instead. All you need is a $5 spot and some loose sofa change. You’ll typically find this toward the bottom of wine shelves but this one is almost as good! (I’ve bought it by the case.)

Castillo de Monseran Garnacha
Castillo de Monseran Garnacha

Here’s a kick-ass tapas recipe to pair with it. All I ask is that at least ONE of you try this and let me know, nay, thank me profusely for turning you on to a great wine/recipe one-two punch!

Catalan Pizza w/ Red Pepper Marmalade

●3 cups of drained roasted red peppers [3 – 14 to 16oz jars] thinly sliced

●3 Tbsp oil [I use coconut oil]

●1 large onion, thinly sliced

●¼ cup of granulated sugar

●1 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar

●Salt to taste

●Goat cheese [optional]

●Pizza dough [make your own if you are an over-achiever- I’ve used Trader Joe’s dough and Pillsbury’s thin crust dough]

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion in oil until soft but not browned (about 10 minutes), stirring often. Add peppers, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir in the sugar, vinegar and 2 Tbsp of water until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 min. Then, uncover and increase heat to medium. Stir occasionally until peppers are soft, onions are glossy and the liquid has reduced. Season with a little salt and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Follow pizza crust instructions. I typically bake the pizza dough for about 5 min. Then, I take it out of the oven, top with the maramalade mixture and drop goat cheese on top. Pop back in the oven for 5 minutes, then slide it off the pizza pan to cook directly on the rack for another 5 minutes.

Que bueno!