Grenache, the undisputed

May 10, 2017

3 minutes read

 

Grenache is a large thin skinned grape with high sugar levels & low in acidity. Don’t let the (often) light colour misguide you, as it’s a medium to full body wine mouth feeling. As the skins are thin, it’s a great wine for rosés too!

 

 

Grenache is one of the most planted grapes in the world, though not a lot of wine lovers know this fact. It originates from Spain, where it’s called Garnacha. In Spain, Garnacha is used for both rosés & reds, where the reds are sometimes blended with the other more famous Spanish grape, Tempranillo. In the region Priorat, the most expensive & bold reds are made. Navarra on the other hand is known for their colourful rosés. Rioja produces both.

 

Another big Grenache wine region in Southern-Rhone. With Syrah dominating in the North, here rules Grenache. Especially on rosé level. Both full body dry & light semi-sweet ones are made in this hot climate. So now & then the rosé wines get oak treatment, where the oak gives it an orangey colour, softens the fruit where savoury tones come into play.

 

 

The most famous red from this region is Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, allowing 13 types of grapes in its blend, including Syrah. Another French wine region where Grenache is planted, is Languedoc-Roussillon.

 

In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is making waves with Grenache too. Big, more fruit-forward wines are made here. South-Australia is to look out for. Other countries planting Grenache are USA (fruit forward like Australia) & Sardinia, Italy.

 

Grenache only loves hot climates. Common flavours are red fruits; strawberries, cranberries, with spicy notes like white pepper, liquorice & cinnamon. If the wine is aged it will develop toffee & leather notes.

 

As said, Garnacha in Spain. Other names for Grenache you can come across are; Alicante (local name in France) or Cannonau (Italy), There is even a white grape variety, called Grenache Blanc.

 

Grenache is a great grape variety, but tends to lack acidity, tannins & colour. Hence, it’s a great that often is blended with other more ‘’richer’’ grapes. The Grenache-Syrah combo is familiar in the Rhone region & Australia. Languedoc-Roussillon add Mourvedre, to make the so-called GSM-wines (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre), with Spain blending Grenache with its famous grape Tempranillo.

 

 

With its spicy component though, Grenache pairs well with less spicy & herby food. Consider the Asian kitchen, but don’t make it too spicy as the high alcohol + spicy notes will give you that burning sensation. Otherwise, roasted meats, game, or what about those slow cooked meat stews?

 

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