Garnacha/Grenache - an Introduction

The same grape but two different names.

In Spain this red variety is Garnacha. It is the most widely cultivated grape in Spain where it is easy to grow and supplies producers with good yields. Often used in blends as its body, fruitiness and inherent ‘meatiness’ make it a great partner. Rioja is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. Modern techniques of wine making are releasing, previously, untapped potential with wines offering great drinking in styles ranging from the young and fresh through to more age-worthy reds. Spain’s most famous wine, Vega Sicilia, has the grape as one of its components.

In France Grenache is widespread across the south from the Languedoc-Roussillon through to the Rhône and Provence. It is one of the permitted grapes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and makes the Tavel rosé too. And just to demonstrate its true diversity it is used for dessert wines in Banyuls down near the Spanish border and Rivesaltes.

Australia, California and South Africa have plantings, although in South Africa they are small. In Australia I’ve recently encountered some amazing GMS blends. The G standing for Grenache, the M Mourvèdre and the S, Shiraz in a take on the Southern French blends.

Just to confuse us all the grape, as is so often the case, comes with a whole host of synonyms. A mention of Garbacho, Lladoner, Tinto Aragones, Tinto Menudo, Alicante, Sans Pareil, Cannonau and Granaccia - they are all one and the same.


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