JUST THE FACTS
Price: R250 (as of Mar 2017)
Winery: The Foundry
Wine Region: Stellenbosch
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Moderate
Occasion: A summer evening sometime soon after payday
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If you read nothing else
If Grenaches are rom-coms, then this is The Notebook. Sombre, savoury truffle notes abound on the bouquet, in almost PN-esque fashion.
Colour is remarkably dense for a grenache, and mouthfeel follows suit, being heavier than any of the five other grenaches on the HDS blind tasting table.
On the palate there is are lovely notes of ripe black cherries, some oak spice, and a lingering finish.
More in the style of the native brooding Garnaxas than of the light fresh and fragrant offerings more common in SA.
While pleasant, it is also pricy. There are definitely better yen-to-yum ratios out there.
Lighter than a Sumo Wrestler
While Grenache is often on the Pinot-Noir end of the colour spectrum, its alcohol content can be deceptively high.
In warmer climates, sugars can develop very quickly in a grape, while the actual physiological ripeness of a grape lags behind. This causes a time delay between “sugar ripeness” and “phenolic ripeness” (which is when the tannins in the seeds and skins become softer and less likely to attack you like a sandpaper-clad circus monkey).
This gap, where farmers sit around and perform those photo shoots for stock libraries of rural-looking fellas chewing pieces of wheat, is where sugar levels continue to climb while harvesters wait for “phenolic ripeness”.
The bigger the gap, the more chance for sugars to develop, and therefore the more chance for potential alcohol in the end product.
Grenache vines often need a lot of hang time between sugar awesomeness and phenolic awesomeness, which is why wines with a high proportion of Grenache (like many Rhône-style blends…or, say, this straight Grenache) often carry a hefty alcoholic hit.
So… don’t be fooled by the translucence of the wine. Just check the label to see exactly how much of a party you might be in for.
“Did you know that one in five farmers report having suffered a wheat-related or barley-related injury while waiting for phenolic ripeness”#Trumpfact
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.