Wine Profile: Grenache
Who here is looking for a wine whose signature taste is fruit roll-up? That pretty much sold me. Grenache is full of juicy fruits, bursting with flowers and loaded with spice. It also plays a very important role in some of the wine world’s most famous blends.
ALWAYS PÂPE STAR
Grenache most likely originated in Northern Spain, where it is known as Garnacha. Garnacha is still one of the most widely planted grapes in Spain. It is grown all across the country and is most recently receiving acclaim for the blends coming out of the Priorat region. However, France is what really put Grenache on the map. And is the reason we mostly refer to the grape as Grenache instead of Garnacha. The Southern Rhone made the grape famous, as it is the principal component in Chateauneuf Du Pâpe. In fact, almost two-thirds of the Chateauneuf region is devoted to plantings of Grenache.
IT ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
In France Grenache is blended with the Southern Rhone’s other varietals like Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. It produces wines exploding with cherry fruit along with herbal, almost smoky notes like oregano, lavender, and tobacco. In Spain however, with a much warmer climate, this naturally late-ripening grape produces bolder reds. Wines full of fruit and licorice and spice and often with alcohol levels exceeding 15%
Europe isn’t the only place Grenache is thriving however. The U.S has a decent amount of acreage planted as well. Here the wines are often still part of a blend, typically with Syrah to add in some more tannic structure. They are often fruit-forward and high alcohol wines. While they tend to have less of herbal aromas found in their European counterparts, they make up with it with their floral notes. Even though the vast majority of Grenache comes from Europe and the US, it has been embraced by winemakers in South Africa and Israel with some promising results.
WE WOULD NEVER FORGET ABOUT ROSÉ:
No matter which country it is from you can’t go wrong with a rosé of Grenache. It has made some of the world’s most famous rosés including those coming out of Provence France, and the Bandol region in particular. Because Grenache has relatively thin skins and full fruit flavors it makes an excellent dry rosé. Rosés made out of Grenache are full of watermelon, lemonade, strawberry, and zesty citrus. They are well balanced and have a nice strike of acidity that makes them extremely food-friendly.
NOTHING IF NOT ACCOMMODATING
Grenache, while tending towards higher alcohol levels, is a medium-bodied wine. It is also fairly versatile when it comes to food pairing. As a rosé Grenache is perfect with seafood, anything simply grilled and simply seasoned is a dream. As a red wine, it is magnificent with lamb or fowl. You can’t go wrong with a Grenache and a roasted chicken. Adding in some mild fresh herbs and a zing of citrus really makes any of these pairing options sing.
Whether you’re sipping on some crisp rosé, enjoying a single varietal bottling, or a richer blend, Grenache is definitely a wine we recommend adding to your collection.
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