A Wine Lover’s View Of The Red Grenache Grape

Many experts claim that the Grenache grape originated in Spain, where it is called Garnacha, and spread throughout the Mediterranean into France and southern Europe. It is the most widely planted red wine grape. Grenache is grown throughout Mediterranean from Spain to Sicily. It is quite popular in southern France. This variety is also grown in Australia, South Africa, and the United States, in particular in California, where it usually produces table wines, rather than premium wines.

Grenache juice is sweet. Its color and depth vary considerably according to climate and the winemaker’s art. This juice is usually spicy with a fairly high level of alcohol. It tastes of berries and may be low in acid, color, and tannins. Grenache grapes produce three wine styles. Unblended it yields the famous Tavel Rose wines as well as red wines from the Cotes du Rhone region in southeastern France. It also makes some other regional dry red wines. When Grenache grapes are blended with other red grapes such as Mourvedre and Cinsault it produces the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape, also from the Cotes du Rhône region. While thirteen varieties of red grapes are authorized for this usually excellent wine, historically Grenache was the dominant variety. Grenache is now ceding this role to Syrah and Mourvedre . Unblended Grenache produces fortified sweet wines known as vins doux naturels in the Banyuls district of the Roussillon region in southern France.

Grenache-based wines are good partners for Lamb, Pork, Veal, Eggplant, and Red Snapper. Suggested pairings for red Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines include Barbequed Beef Ribs, Leg of Lamb, and Roast Duck. Among the suggested pairings for Cotes du Rhone wines are Pot Roast, Roast Turkey, Veal Stew, and Wild Boar.

Over the years we have reviewed many Grenache-based wines. Among the examples are an inexpensive French Grenache-Syrah blend, a moderate-priced Grenache/Mourvedre/Shiraz (known as GMS) blend made from old bush vines in Australia, an inexpensive French Cinsault-Grenache blend vinified into a rose wine, and an organic Chateauneuf-du-Pape containing over 50% Grenache grapes. Do I have to tell you that it was French and fairly expensive? Its companion wine was a moderate-priced French organic Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. We also reviewed an inexpensive and a moderate-priced Spanish rose both made from red Garnacha grapes. There is a white Grenache grape, and as luck would have it, we reviewed a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine, based on four white grape varieties and presumably starring the white Grenache grape.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.