A Wine Cellar guide to Grenache
Grenache is a versatile black grape variety that is widely planted in the south of France, Spain, Australia and the US. Some commentators believe that the variety originated in Sardinia and was transported to Spain by the Araganose in the 14th century.
Grenache, or Garnacha as it is known in Spain, is a late-ripening variety and performs best in hot, dry conditions. Unblended, it delivers wines that are relatively light in colour with soft tannins and high alcohol content. The flavour profile tends to include red cherries, strawberries and subtle white pepper spice, developing leather and toffee notes with age. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône, Grenache typically accounts for over 75% of the blend, yielding glorious rich, spicy wines that can be put down for several decades. One of the region's most legendary wines, Château Rayas, is in fact 100% Grenache. In Priorat in Spain, old-vine Garnacha is often blended with small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon to produce complex, tannic and intensely concentrated wines that are noticeably darker in colour.
The variety is also well suited to the production of rosé wines. It is the principal grape in the fine rosés of Tavel and Lirac and can be found throughout the Rhône, Provence and the Languedoc-Roussillon.