Jul 8, 2018
This week, we focus on this splendid grape that has come into
its own. From obscure blender to a star varietal, Grenache or
Garnacha is a total crowd-pleaser and can be a delicious wine in
its simplest and most complex formats. We give the lowdown on it --
from red to white to "furry" Grenache, I'm positive you'll hear
about some wine in this podcast that will make you want to run out
and get it!
Here are the show notes:
- We cover the origin story -- the wine spread around around
Mediterranean and we believe it originated in Spain in Aragón,
moved north and south of Pyrenees to France. The Sardinians of
Italy would argue this premise...
- It's traditionally been a blender but now great varietal
examples are available
- Grenache is fruity, rich, sweet-tasting with red and black
- Its challenges: it ripens to high sugar levels and it can
oxidize – even young wines brown around the rim. It can lack
- The key to great Grenache/Garnacha -- it NEEDS well drained
soils and water stress to thrive and yields must be
- The vine has strong wood and is heat and wind tolerant -- it
grows well in hot, dry climates.
- Makes everything from rosé, to white, to sweet wines and does
We discuss Grenache Blanc (one of my
- The wines of white Grenache are full bodied – fat and soft or
floral, terroir-driven wines
- Usually blended with Grenache Gris, Clairette, Marsanne,
Roussane, Viognier, Macabeo, others
- If yileds controlled, great full bodied wines that can be age
- Places: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, California, South Africa,
Priorat, CndP, Tarragona, Rioja, Navarra
Other mutations --
- Southern France and Sardinia:
Grenache Rosé and
Grenache gris make
pale rosé and lightly tinted white
wines. Pink skinned and more perfumed than Grenache blanc
- Garnacha Peluda: wines lower in alcohol and
higher in acidity that show spicy and savory notes
Where do we find Grenache/Garnacha?
- Rhone: Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, Vacqueryas, and
all over the southern Rhône - Grenache noir is the most common
- The GSM blend: Grenache can have a jam-like
consistency when very ripe but usually adds bright fruit and
alcohol to the blend. Syrah is typically blended
to provide color and spice, while Mourvèdre can
add elegance and structure to the wine
- Rosé: Tavel and Lirac roses, Provence, Rousillon for rose,
- Roussillon: dry wines, but also Vins Doux Naturels – Banyuls,
- Blends with Tempranillo, varietal as Garnacha
- Considered a "workhorse" grape of low quality suitable for
blending but Priorat's rise and New World Rhone Rangers
sparked a re-evaluation the variety
- North and east: Rioja, Navarra, Campo de Borja, Calatayud,
Cariñena, Madrid, La Mancha, Priorat, Penedes
- Dry farmed, concentrated and tannic
- Aragón is the probable origin of the grape and has the largest
surface of Garnacha in Spain
- Cannonau in Sardinia -- high alcohol, can
be harsh and green.
Other Old World regions– Other southern Italian
places, Algeria, Israel, Morocco, Cyprus, also grown in Croatia
New World: Australia and California
- Lots of GSM, some varietal wines
- McLaren Vale = luscious richness and spicy notes
- Barossa Valley =jammy, hugely fruity, can be over the top
- Used and abused at first -- grown in the hot central San
Joaquin Valley because of its tolerance to heat and drought.
- Made sweet "white Grenache" wines, a la white Zinfandel
- Rhône Rangers movement in the late 20th c helped bring Grenache
up in status -- rising in popularity and quality in CA
- In the early 20th century, Grenache was one of the first
successful grapes in Washington State.
Garnacha/Grenache is an amazing, do-all grape. There's a style
for everyone, so try it if you haven't!
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