Grenache: Masculine, Feminine, or both?
I am a firm believer that grape varietals have personalities that come out of their defining flavor and structure characteristics. Points in Case: Cabernet Sauvignon is King, Chardonnay is the Queen. Yes, Cabernet is the big masculine adonis type and it is easy to see Chardonnay as the Queen and the top of the divine feminine of vinifera. But does that mean all whites are feminine and all reds masculine, No... not at all. Consider Pinot Noir; the red that is like drinking liquid lace. It defines femininity in its grace and delicate touch.
So here is a list of the Grapes relevant to my world and their genders as I see it.
Masculine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, Grenache Blance, Riesling,
Feminine: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viongier, Grenache, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Did you catch it? Grenache is expressing in both the masculine and feminine. Is that
possible? Hello, its 2021... It is time to express who you are and speak your truth. Mic drop!
Ok this was not meant to be an article about human sexuality in 2021 but it is quite relevant to the conversation and something I wholeheartedly support. Let me explain how I arrived at this place with Grenache...
Within the realm of Rhone varietals, I always saw Grenache as one of the ruckus country brawlers getting thrown out of taverns and tearing up the countryside. It always paralleled in size, color, fruit, and spice as its compatriots Zinfandel and Mourvèdre. Medium body grapes, not overly tannic, and most defined by their unique fruit and spice profiles.
So why did I call my Grenache “Drop Dead Legs” and adorn the label with fabulous shots of beautiful female legs rocking the divine feminine? Because that is how the wine spoke to me. The wine is gorgeous but not in some macho masculine way. It has grace and subtlety but is full of spice and sultry structure. It’s bigger than a Pinot Noir but shares many of its graceful, feminine characteristics. As a single varietal, to me, Grenache presents as feminine. In a blend, it presents as masculine. It makes sense to me. Is it androgynous? BI-Sexual? Why would you want to limit it and its expression? I see it as a metaphor paralleling amazing people in our world like David Bowie, an artist truly living and expressing in both the masculine and the feminine. And why not? If it has the talent and ability to walk in both worlds why not rock it !?!
This is an interesting but quite controversial conversation to some but I’m sure it has sparked some interesting thought about viewing grape varietals with personalities and genders. I am curious how you see many of these varieties and how they express as either Masculine of Feminine to you? Has this changed your perspective and given you a different way of looking at wines and how they present and pair with food. Is wine now part of your wardrobe that should match the occasion? Please comment and leave me your observations and opinions on the subject. To all who leave a comment, you will be entered into a drawing for some Anarchy swag. I'm excited to hear your thoughts.
Christian Tietje Winemaker