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Grenache for every occassion

This September, celebrate the magic of Grenache with one of Ken Forrester Vineyard's Southern Rhône inspired wines.

Ken Forrester Vineyards are perfectly situated in Stellenbosch with terroir closely resembling Southern Rhône making it ideal for growing traditional cultivars to produce iconic Rhône blends.  The third Friday of September marks the annual celebration of International Grenache Day, a star of traditional Southern Rhône blends. The day was founded at an international symposium in 2010, dedicated to this cultivar and attended by top wine professionals from 21 countries.

Grenache’s origin has been widely debated between Italy and Spain, but it is generally accepted that Aragon in northern Spain is its place of birth, known in Spanish as Garnacha. It was most likely spread by the Crown of Aragon to Sardinia and Roussillon in southern France, where it settled in the Rhône region.

The cultivar is an interesting one in that there are mutations of the red cultivar (Grenache Noir) that grow white (Grenache Blanc), and pink/grey (Grenache Gris) berries, each with the same DNA. Grenache Noir is one of the most planted red cultivars in the world and accounts for a fraction of SA’s vines, with Grenache Blanc and Gris in even smaller plantings.

Grenache is known for its hardy wooded trunk which makes it ideal for windy areas, and berries that have a moderate acidity and a high sugary potential which can result in high alcohol wines. The wines usually have a red fruit focus such as strawberries, raspberries and plums with medium tannins, these characteristics have traditionally made it ideal for blending.

Ken Forrester Vineyards offers a selection of blends that feature Grenache’s fruity influence. The Renegade was one of SA’s first Rhône blends, with the 2018 vintage being an almost three-way blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre, offering an Old-World wine with New-World fruits.

The Gypsy, part of the Icon range, led by Grenache with elegant Syrah and Mourvèdre in support. The result is a concentrated wine of layers of deep red fruits with hints of spice and vanilla, with a brambly character, a truly South African take on a traditional Southern Rhône blend. The wine is carefully cellared at the estate to ensure harmony before release means the wine is perfect for ageing and yet accessible now. The cellar exclusive Three Halves is a demonstration of Ken’s keen eye for creating something special and unique. This wine is led by Mourvèdre, which creates an earthy backbone, with fruity Grenache and spicy Syrah to create a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Finally, the Silver Rose is a Grenache rosé made from free-run juices that carry a beautiful pink hue. The wine has hints of strawberries and pomegranate with a balanced mouth feel from 9 months lees contact during maturation.

This September, celebrate the magic of Grenache with one of Ken Forrester Vineyard’s Southern Rhône inspired wines.