is a Spanish Grape by origin and is called Granacha there.
However, many wine drinkers tend to associate Grenache with the
Southern Rhone Region of France where it forms the back bone to
many excellent Rhone blends.
Grenache is not usually used as a single varietal
or at percentages of 85% or higher and certainly is not often
billed as a varietal, in other words you won't often see bottles
of nice wines labeled Grenache. Unfortunately this is
because Grenache can make pail, high alcohol wines that are
often dilute in flavor.
It does not have to be that way though,
under the right circumstances Grenache can make wonderful wines
that are deeply colored and have velvety texture and fruity
aromas and flavors suggestive of raspberries, currants and
The two biggest factors in producing an
excellent Grenache are the age of the vines and the balance of
the tannins. It is also usually helpful to apply another
wine blend even in a small quantity. Almira,
Los Dos Old Vines is a great example of this balance.
Balancing the tannins is accomplished by
the winemaker during the process and is really about allowing
the skins to remain in the juice long enough to allow for the
deep red color and flavors to be contributed but not so long as
to contribute too much tannin. While strait forward this
process is really an art form and perhaps why so few wine makers
feature a Grenache as a stand alone wine.
The age of the vines is another factor that
only time can take care of. Young Grenache vines typically
produce massive yields of more then 10,000 tons per acre (this
is double a typical 4-7 tons for a variety like Cabernet Sauvignon).
When vines produce high yields grapes are less complex and less
flavorful. As young Grenache vine mature their yields
decline, by 12 years of age they are thick and gnarled like a
small twisted oak tree and by 20 years of age they begin
producing much more complex and interesting wines.
Grenache is beginning to really take off in
Grenache has a long history in Australia, it is only over the
past decade or so that the variety has received the recognition
that it deserves. While it is regarded as a classic variety by
many writers it is an 'alternative varietal' in Australia, not
least because few wine drinkers know much about it.
grape variety is widely planted in South Australia, particularly
in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions. It is a
versatile variety which can be used as a straight varietal wine,
it makes very good rose and is used as blending material,
particularly with Shiraz and Mourvedre. In fact the so called
GSM blends are becoming a signature Barossa/Mclaren Vale style,
challenging the dominance of straight Shiraz.
reality is while not the most common varietal wine Grenache is
the most widely planted grape in the world. Mainly because
of how hardy the vine and its' grape are tolerating both heat
and drought well and still producing healthy yields.
Wine Grape Directory
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