Returning to the roots. This Grenache and Carignan blend is made with ancient winemaking techniques, and the result is clearly different from the oaky, heavy interpretations of Priorat most of us are familiar with.
Hitting 16%, this Chateauneuf du Pape has the highest alcohol in this series. La Centenaire is made entirely from Grenache, which is supposed to handle heat far better than Syrah for example, but to see such alcohol content on the label is not just a bit worrying. Yet this was the winner of the trio (the other two are the El Telar Monastrell and Maccone Primitivo), when it comes to handling alcohol.
The more un-fortified Grenaches I try from this traditionally vin doux naturel producing part of France, the more convinced I am that it’s really a special place for the variety. Andrew Jefford is right.