Grenache. You might drink it often and have no idea. It is the fifth most planted red grape in the world, and is included in many red blends from all regions. The most famous red blend is the French Rhone Châteauneauf-du-Pape, which lists Grenache as one of the primary grapes used. It’s also often blended with Tempranillo to round out it, making it smoother on the palate.
History and Growing Region
The Grenache grape originated in northern Spain, in the Aragon region. In Spain, the grape was dubbed Garnacha. The term Grenache, originated in southern France when the grape jumped the border and began being grown in the Southern Rhone.
Now, Grenache is grown in most warm, sunny climates such as Sardinia (Italy) and Australia. Australian Grenache is more boisterous in flavour than its European counterpart. It has recently been gaining popularity and produced alone as a wine.
The grape itself is very reactive to the vineyard site and vintage conditions, allowing for greater differences in taste from vineyard to vineyard, and around the world.
The Taste and the Looks of Grenache
Grenache is a fruity red, with notes of black fruit, raspberry, lavender, and thyme. The tannins aren’t very pronounced, and have a juicy quality. In some bottles, the first sip has quite a “bite” to it, while the aftertaste is more mellow. To explain that a little more clearly, Grenache is about halfway between a light and a full bodied red.
Grenache is best described as “less colour, more alcohol.” It browns earlier than most reds, both in the bottle and in the glass. That makes the wine less appealing to look at, but no less tasty. It’s also high in alcohol compared to many wines. Take note: if you generally drink two glasses of wine, you may want to stick to just one of this variety.
Grenache is interesting, and unlike other red wines. Many people will drink a Malbec and quickly decide they prefer white over red, but Grenache is on the opposite end of the spectrum, seducing wine drinkers.
We’re Grateful for Grenache
We’re excited that this wine has made such a comeback in recent years, and look forward to seeing what is done with it in Australia and Spain.
What are your favourite Grenaches, or favourite blends that are partly Grenache? Share them with us, and we’ll share a bottle!