I really don’t have much time for Grenache-based wines. They are usually soupily boozed-up, with little real refinement or complexity. They are just so often fruit and alcohol bombs and that sort of thing bores the poo out of me. I bloody hate them.
So if you are obliged, by previous generations’ planting habits, to make something with this appalling grape why not go screaming butt-hole crazy and make the essence of all that is awful in Grenache. They do this in Banyuls (a sweet, red, fortified wine from Southern France) and shaft me backwards if with this example Domaine Pietri-Geraud haven’t pulled off the prime parody of a pastiche of a piss-poor wine and made it perfectly palatable. THIS is what you should do with Grenache! No more of those 15% muck Chateauneufs, have it sweeter, stronger and sillier.
Banyuls Cuvee Mediterranee 2005, Domaine Pietri-Geraud
The nose is slightly rancid, very earthy, with somewhat oxidised fruit of incredible ripeness and vast amounts of booze. It’s Chateauneuf-quadruple-plus and all the better for going the whole way rather than having some pretence at being a serious wine. This is very, very silly. As I am epically silly I heartily approve. For a Grenache that’s this ripe and been abused so utterly it’s remarkably clean and has at least a suggestion of complexity. Well, if not exactly ‘complexity’ it hits you over the head with a multitude of peculiar and knobbly implements at the same time. It tastes pretty sweet and attractive, even though there is still that hint of rancidness to the fruit. It’s got the rough tannic rub people seem to want to Grenache and, heavens above, there’s some acidity there as well. The flavours persist for a long time and, I mean this with total seriousness, you are pretty glad that they do. Yeah, it’s hat-stand, off the wall and has a suggestion of something slightly threatening about it, but it’s a pretty nice drop and by arse does it get you whammed!