IN FRANCE, THE UNITED STATES and Australia, the grape is called Grenache. In Spain its name is Garnacha. And it is known by a variety of other names depending on where it is planted, ranging from Italy to Mexico to Morocco to Croatia and beyond. It is one of the world’s most widely planted grapes, yet it is not well-known as a wine. The main reason: Most often used as part of a blend, its name does not appear on the label.
One country, however, treats the grape with great respect. Spain makes 100 percent Garnacha and thus labels it as Garnacha. While the grape grows in several parts of the country, its finest examples come from five wine regions in northeast Spain: Calatayud, Cariñena, Terra Alta, Campo de Borja and Somontano. And while wineries make Garnacha as a white, rosé and red wine, most of it is red. Garnacha is a low-yielding grape that generally makes a wine with a medium tannin level and medium acidity.
Among whites I recently tasted, I recommend Lafou Els Amelers Garnacha Blanca 2015 ($40) — rich, deep-flavored, spicy with a mineral quality and a pleasantly lingering finish.
For an amazingly good value, try the red Las Rocas de San Alejandro 2013 ($14), made 100 percent of Garnacha from grapes grown on 40- to 60-year-old vines. It presents a vibrant color, lots of forward fruit, hints of cherries and berries and subtle tannins.
Particular Garnacha Viñas Centenarias 2012 ($26), also made 100 percent from the grape, is a red wine of limited production from the winery’s oldest vines. Smooth, full-bodied and with soft tannin and a tantalizing spice in the aroma, it proves an elegant wine.
Pirineos Garnacha 2013 ($30) is rich and deep-flavored with powerful, forward fruit flavors, especially of cherries and blackberries; a touch of mint in the nose; a pronounced minerality; and excellent balance. At 3 years of age, it is still in its infancy.
An old grape. A rather new discovery.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.