Blackberry Farm

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Adventurous Wine

In the name of adventure this month, I made it my goal to search out versions of Grenache (one of my very favorite grapes) that were off the beaten path. Typically, this grape can be found in the southern Rhône Valley under the monikers of Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Gigondas. It’s also found a home here in the US in the Central Coast of California where producers such as Saxum, Alban and Sine Qua Non make strong, intense versions of the grape that have cult followings. You can find it in Australia where it gets ripe enough to be a great alternative to American Zinfandel.
 
But the grape most likely comes from Spain. So I wanted to find unique Spanish versions of this grape that worked with our cuisine – so it had to be elegant. What I found were incredible variations on Grenache being made in the highlands around Madrid. I was particularly drawn to the area of Mentrida, just West of Madrid where there are a few producers toiling to make a minute amount of elegant, fresh Grenache, the likes of which I’ve not found elsewhere. Jimenez Landi is a one of these wineries. Two brothers work this small estate and produce single vineyard Grenaches that showcase the all the vineyard can offer at high altitudes and with minimalist winemaking style. The grapes are biodynamically produced, food treaded and aged in large vat barrels that don’t impart oaky flavors. Their wines are balanced and fresh with a strong sense of the granitic sandy soils in which their grown. Another great example is from Commando G. It’s his Rumbo Al Norte Garnacha. Similarly produced to the Jiminez Landi wines, this wine in clear, concise and lively Grenache from Mentrida. It comes from a vineyard that is only .3 Hectares (just under one acre). He farms it carefully and makes only about 1000 bottles annually – if you can get your hands on any of them, you should!