Christy Canterbury has dedicated her life’s work to the world of wine. As a Master of Wine, journalist, speaker, judge, and educator, Christy is a leader and knowledgeable voice in the industry. After working in the finance industry, Christy made the move to wine and has since held various high-level positions including Wine Director, Beverage Director, and has been commissioned by multiple restaurants to develop their wine lists. She is regularly invited to judge wines at competitions and splits her time between the vineyards of Europe and Manhattan.
Recently, Christy was the speaker at our Garnacha Day event held in the Meatpacking District in NYC. In her seminar, Christy spoke about the traits of Garnacha wines and lead an informal tasting for attendees. We chatted with Christy to learn more about her experience with Garnacha wines from Spain and get the scoop on some of her favorite pairing combinations.
Q: When did you first try Garnacha wine and what has been your relationship with the wine since?
Gosh – I am not sure! However, it is highly likely my first Garnacha came in the form of a Grenache from France, likely in a Rhône wine.
I’m a big Garnacha fan today. It is an incredibly flexible grape with lots of styles – from light and elegant to darkly-colored and powerful. Moreover, it stands on its own as a varietal wine yet blends well with other grapes. And, that’s not all! It also comes in white, gray and red variations and makes white, rosé and red wines. Few grape varieties can work that kind of magic!
Speaking of rosé, some of my favorite rosés are made from Garnacha. I love their deep pink colors and vivacious flavors. I like pale, delicate Provençal rosés, too, but I’ll take the burst of big character from a Spanish Garnacha rosé any day!
Q: What do you most like about Garnacha wines?
Garnacha wines are user-friendly. With their supple tannins (for reds) and generally mild acidities, they aren’t demanding on the palate. Garnacha wines are pleasure-filled wines!
Q: What are some of your favorite dishes to pair with Garnacha wines?
My favorite pairing with Garnacha wines is good friends! For food, I love a white gazpacho or a savory apple, cheese, onion and thyme tart with Garnacha Blanca. Rosés work well with salads and Pata Negra sandwiches. Lighter styles of reds work nicely with braised veal breast and porcini mushrooms while sturdier reds stand up to heartier fare like lamb tagging.
Q: What is one thing people who are less knowledgeable of the wine world should know about Garnacha wines?
Northeastern Spain is the birthplace of Garnacha! For sippers looking to taste ‘pure’ Garnacha, they should look for Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano or Terra Alta on the wine label. These regions make almost entirely 100% Garnacha wines.
Q: For beginners looking to explore great new wines, what is a piece of advice you would give them?
Garnacha offers tremendous value, so it’s easy on the pocket to get to know. Sure, some can be expensive, but many are not. Pick up a few and compare them at the same time!
To read more about Christy’s experience in the world of wine, be sure to check out her personal website where she offers past event highlights and some personal wine recommendations.