At first, when the wrong wine arrived from the folks at Sainsbury’s, I was a bit disappointed. I was keen to reacquaint myself with their Winemakers’ Selection Old Vine Garnacha, instead The Taste the Difference Old Vine Grenache was delivered. However this, (admittedly rather tiny in the world scale of things) cloud ended up having a large silver lining when the correct bottle arrived and I was able to do a mini-comparative tasting in the comfort of my own kitchen.
If you’ve never done one of these they are great fun. Pick wines made from the same grape variety (or blend of varieties) but from different countries or regions. Try and get the same vintage (year of production) if you can. Then swirl, sniff, slurp and compare and contrast.
The Old Vine Garnacha is part of a new ‘core’ range at Sainsbury’s called Winemakers’ Selection, which will sit between their value “House” range and the premium wines from “Taste the Difference”, represented here by The Old Vine Grenache from McLaren Vale in Australia.
Let’s start off with what was similar about the wines. Both were deep ruby in colour, on the full side of medium bodied. Both had 14.5% alcohol, which is high but each seemed well made enough for this not to dominate. Both wines had dark fruit (damson, black cherry, blackcurrant) aromas and flavours and sweet spicy finishes which lingered on pretty well.
They did, however, have some definite differences. The Spanish Garnacha was much more overtly fruity on the nose and pleasantly slightly perfumed too. Flavour-wise I think I got a hint of liquorice too. Compared with the Old vine Grenache (made by the renowned d’Arenberg Winery) the tannins are smoother. The Aussie wine has some interesting smoky aromas, more intense flavours of blackcurrant and just seems a bit more grown up and complex.
I think the Garnacha would be easier to enjoy on its own with out food, but both went very nicely with some herby sausages.
Price-wise the Old Vine Garnacha is £5.99; The Old Vine Grenache is £9.99 but on offer at the moment at £7.99. Both are, of course, exclusive to Sainsbury’s.
In terms of W.O.W. Factor it’s 6.5 to Spain and 7 to Australia.
P.S. An honourable mention too for Asda’s Garnacha Tempranillo from Valencia which I tried at the same time. It was easy-drinking, fruity and spicy but tasted a little hot (alcoholic) at the end and a bit bitter too. It costs £4.98.