2007 Abel Clement Grenache

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No fruit bomb here

Grenache (in Spain, Garnacha) is one of the most popular wine grapes in the world. It’s almost always a blending grape, and since it’s high in sugar, it produces wine that’s high in alcohol, making it a natural choice for fortified wines. You often hear Grenache described as fruity, and it is fruity for a French wine. But compared to the California fruit bombs we’ve become accustomed — and inured — to, it’s fairly restrained.

The purest expression of Grenache occurs in the Rhône Valley of southern France, where it’s the chief grape in Châteauneuf-du-Pape — a wine that can run you a pretty penny. But as simple vin du table, often made with Grenache from vineyards adjacent to the famous ones, it can be wonderful everyday wine. For $9 at Arlequin Wine Merchant in Hayes Valley, you can snag a perfect example: the 2007 Abel Clement Côtes du Rhône, produced by a cooperative in Vaucluse just north of Aix-en-Provence. It emphasizes the fresh cherry profile common to the grape without veering off into overripe. And the fact that you can buy a gallon of it in France for about five bucks notwithstanding, it’s a relative bargain here.

Cote du Rhone is my favorite Red for everyday drinking. The spice and medium body makes it easy drinking. France has 10000 CR producers and much of the house wine served in F restaurants and cafes is CR because is cheap and pleases so many palates. Have some today

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