Grenache

One of the most planted grape varieties in the world.

Read more

History of the Grenache grape

Garnacha in Spanish or Grenache in French is a grape variety that most probably originated in Spain somewhere between Aragón and Catalunya regions. During the Crown of Aragón this variety saw its first expansions to other parts of the kingdom like Sardinia (where it’s known as Cannonau) and Roussillon. Once in Roussillon it kept on spreading northwards to reach Languedoc first and finally the Southern Rhône region were it currently makes one of the most famous reds, Châteauneuf du Pape. Although it’s gone through ups and downs in wine history and was mainly considered a blending grape for a very long time, it’s currently experiencing a new boom with many winemakers producing more and more varietals of Garnacha/ Grenache. It’s still nowadays one of the most planted varieties worldwide.

Key Wine Information

Location

France and Spain have the largest plantations of this variety especially in the Languedoc and Southern Rhône and in Aragón, Rioja and Catalunya respectively. Outside the Old World you can find Garnacha/Grenache almost everywhere but Australia is the other big wine nation which has successfully produced quality wines using this grape.

Grapes

The Garnacha/Grenache vine is a sturdy and resistant variety that needs hot temperatures and plenty of sunshine in order to thrive and to produce good quality fruit. It tolerates windy, hot and relatively dry climates which makes it perfect for the Mediterranean climate. Plants bud early and fruits need a long growing season in order to reach maturity. These conditions produce grapes with high levels of sugar which translates sometimes to very alcoholic wines depending on where they grow. Grapes are thin-skinned and the wine produced is generally light-coloured. Due to its thick wood trunk and the way it tends to grow make harvest by mechanical means difficult or impossible.

Wine

Wines made from Garnacha/Grenache vary depending on terrorir and whether they are blended at all or not or has been aged in oak barrels. As a rule of thumb varietal wines are very fruit-forward and on the red fruit spectrum especially strawberries and raspberries giving a false impression of sweetness, and also a peppery taste. They possess low-to-medium levels of acidity and tannins and tend to oxydise rather quickly meaning they don’t do any better with aging in the bottle unless they’ve been blended with other varieties with this characteristic, like Syrah. Two different currents seem to have appeared when it came to age Garnacha/Grenache or not. Some winemakers prefer not to obscure the fruitiness of the grape whereas others think oak aging suits this grape variety and add more interesting notes.

Styles of Grenache wine

The most common form of Garnacha/Grenache is in a blend with other varieties that help fill in the characteristics this grape lacks of. In Châteauneuf du Pape and most of the Southern Rhône Grenache makes the backbone of the wine which is often blended with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan or Cinsault. Sometimes one can find varietals of this grape but they usually come from old and low yielding vines that can produce more complex and rich grapes, being the case of Château Rayas.

Subscribe to our monthly wine club

The wine we select for you each month has been through a rigorous tasting process to ensure you get to enjoy the very best. The selection in your monthly delivery will be from different regions and grape varieties so that you can compare and contrast the aromas, textures and tastes.

We'll also send you a copy of our tasting notes and some useful information on the vineyard and wine for you to learn about the many differences between grape varieties, blends, regions, and vintages.

Subscribe Gift
Picture

Stay in the know

Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates, news and special subscriber offers.