Classic aromas of Grenache are: Blackberry, Black Cherry, Blackberry Jam, Licorice, Coffee and Dried Meats
Grenache, or Garnacha, is a red grape variety that is one of the most important varieties in Spain. It is believed to have been brought over from Sardinia in Italy to the south of Spain, where it was first mentioned in the early parts of the 16th century. It is also a leading grape variety in the Rhone Valley in France and across Australia.
It is one of the most planted grape varieties in the world. Most of this is in Spain though is spread significantly across Europe, Australia, California and to a lesser degree in South America.
In France it is the second most planted red grape, after Merlot and before Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes up massive 94,240ha which is concentrated in the Southern Rhone Valley and the south of France. Generally speaking Grenache is made into the famous GSM blend, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. The most famous example of Grenache, and this blend, are the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. These wines have Grenache to thank for its alcohol, colour and depth of flavour. As well as making red wines across the southern Rhone Valley the regions of Tavel and Lirac make light roses.
Spain is Garnacha’s home though making up 75,399ha. These plantings are largely in the centre of Spain for bulk production. Though it is an important grape in the North/South East – particularly in Navarra, Castilla y Leon, Aragon and Valencia. Navarra is important for Garnacha Rosado (local name for rose) production.
Outside of Spain and France it is most important in Australia – where before the Shiraz uprise of the 1960s it was the most planted red grape variety. It is now third behind Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes up 2,011ha worth and is planted across the country. Grenache is also largely planted in southern California and South Africa.
Grenache gives wines that are full bodied with medium-high soft tannins. The classic aromas of Grenache revolve around blackcurrants, black cherries, raspberry jam, blackberries, honey, toasted bread and dried meats. As it matures it will develop lovely aromas of coffee beans, black olives, licorice, dried strawberries and baking spices. Often good Grenache will develop into a more savoury wine than its former fruit-forward nature.