Piekenierskloof is a district of Citrusdal. With one of the most sizable Grenache plantings within the Cape, the region could comfortably dub the ‘Grenache HQ’ title. As one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in the world, Grenache is currently enjoying a new wave of appreciation across South Africa. With International Grenache Day happening on the 15th September, we dive into the barrel to discover why Grenache is the new bacon.
Originating from Spain (where it is called Garnacha), the Grenache Noir grape, not to be confused with sister grape Grenache Blanc, is generally abbreviated to Grenache for short. It thrives in hot and dry conditions, enjoying extreme temperatures and poor soils. A huge advantage for local winemakers is that South Africa has a great collection of old dryland vines (some over 60 years old) located in relatively untouched regions such as Piekenierskloof. These old vines give fruit of unparalleled structure, concentrated flavours and aromas worthy of conservation. Thanks to their deep root system, they don’t require any irrigation (hence called dryland vines) and are left to grow on their own accord, saving on maintenance costs and most importantly, water.
If you’re new to reds, Grenache is a foolproof place to start. Even if you’re a seasoned red drinker, dare to try something different from your traditional full bodied, POW wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, that leave a mark not only on your palate but more often than not, your pocket too. Affectionately called the ‘poor man’s Pinot Noir’, Grenache is generally more affordable but equally as light as Pinot Noir, both in colour and in soft tannins (leaving none of that grippy, dry mouth feeling after a sip).
As a variety, it is super juicy and a fruit basket full of aromatics, with plenty of red fruit on the nose. But perhaps the most pleasing thing about Grenache is that it is a wine for all seasons. While a classic choice for winter, it is a surprisingly perfect summer red, best popped into an ice bucket and paired with some spicy tapas on a balmy day. Piekenierskloof Wine Company offers a vibrant collection of wines, with the Grenache standing out with beautiful blackberry and sweet dark fruit aromas.