You know Garnacha. It is a Spanish grape. Maybe you recognize it better by its French name “Grenache.” You have had it as the “G” in GSMs – blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. It is the predominant grape of the many permitted in the famed blends of Chateauneuf de Pape. But did you know that Garnacha is classically grown in Spain, on vines as old as 100 years, is hand harvested, AND is beyond affordable. It is downright cheap – on the wallet – but pretty darn good on the palate. And it comes in white or red (rose too although that is featured here.)
During a recent tasting with Snooth for #garnachaday (samples provided) we tasted 5 Garnacha and the most expensive was around $16. No lie. Here are our notes and scroll all the way to the end if you want the recipe for our Collard, Shrimp, and Chicken Thigh Spanish/Southern Fusion.
2013 Vinas Del Vero La Miranda Secastilla Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) ($15)
“The Pago La Miranda” (Estate of Miranda) in the Secastilla Valley is situated in the northeast of Somontano with a special Mediterranean microclimate that has quite different climatic conditions for vine, olive and almond growing. On stony slopes at more than 700 metres above sea level, we have recovered very ancient Garnacha vineyards, the traditional variety from Secastilla Valley. There is an ancient tradition in the Secastilla Valley, where the female of the house owns the property, land and estate, hence the name of this particular estate “La Miranda.”
Smells green – grass, granny smith, herbaceous not fruity. Rounder and softer on the palate it grows bigger and friendlier and has a great acid balance. Salad course wine or light chicken dressed with lemon and herbs.
2015 Clos Dalian Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) ($12)
Designation of Origin DO Terra Alta is located in Catalonia’s most southern, inland area (Spain). Terra Alta region has been closely linked to wine production for almost 1.000 years. By 1.296 and 1.319 writers were already praising the character of wines from Terra Alta, where people have their own way of understanding life.
Smells like a marzipan apple custard garnished with edible flowers. Creamy full texture with a little bitterness on the finish. Unoaked. This wine needs food – I want mushrooms and something creamy – think risotto, soup. white sauce and noodles. Or even a dish like our Truffled Spaghetti Carbonara.
During the discussion this was suggested as a white alternative for Thanksgiving. I think that could fly and the cost will make up for what you will be spending on a good Oregon Pinot Noir for your red option.
Evodia Garnacha ($8)
Vineyards up to 100 years old in gobelet training system (hand harvested). Mountainous area with altitudes from 750 to 1000 m. from the area of Atea.
Smells like a fresh purple plum with notes of duty minerality. An approachable luxurious full bodied palate that is fruit forward with smoke and black peppery spice.
2014 Castilla de Monseran Garnacha ($8)
Smells like super ripe red plums, stewed strawberries, and cinnamon. Very fruit forward more tannic structure than expected. Tasting group suggested baba ganoush by the campfire. To me this a Sangria wine candidate.
2014 Coto de Hayas Garnacha Centenaria ($16)
Grapes from very old Garnacha vineyards planted by the traditional system from single vineyards “Monte Alto” and “La Sarda”. These vineyards are located on very arid slate soils on the slopes of the Iberian Mountain range, close to its highest peak: El Moncayo.
Smells like blueberries and tarragon and it tastes like it smells. I want duck or pork with a sweet/savory fruit sauce. Like our Duck Breast with Cherry Hazelnut Compote.
Tasting panel said this had a “kiss of oak with a bit of lipstick stain left.” My fave of the night and the best with our dish – Collard, Shrimp, and Chicken Thigh Spanish/Southern Fusion. Gosh can anyone give this dish a name?
We wanted a dish that would pair with this line up of Spanish Garnacha. So we took traditional flavors of shrimp and chorizo and married them with our collard and sweet potatoes from our Georgia roots.
- 3 handfuls of shredded collards, center rib removed
- 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 oz chorizo
- 8 large shrimp
- ¼ cup sweet red pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- 1½ cups mashed baked sweet potato
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ to 1 tsp spicy powdered red pepper depending on how spicy you like it
- 1¼ tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Place mashed sweet potato in a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon while still steaming.
- Heat olive oil in pan. Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1 tsp paprika and brown until thoroughly cooked.
- Remove chicken thighs and when cool enough to handle cut into bite sized pieces.
- Saute chorizo, onion, and sweet pepper in pan with chicken drippings. Add spicy powdered red pepper , ¼ tsp paprika, salt and pepper to taste. When chorizo is done and vegetables are softened remove from pan and stir with sweet potato.
- Coat a separate pan with olive oil and pan fry collards until crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from pan to plate.
- Add oil to the collar pan as needed and cook shrimp until opaque and pink (approx 2 minutes each side).
- To serve layer collards, potato and chorizo mixture, top with chicken, then shrimp.