What is "Grenache"? By BeverageBrian

Posted: Apr 22 2014

Grenache / Garnacha

(greh-NAHSH / gar-NAHCHA)
The Grape:
            Grenache is the second most planted wine-producing vine in the world. It is used as a blending grape in many different wines. The vine itself is very resistant to hot arid conditions and produces a large crop of fruit. Grenache is a fleshy, wine that is usually top heavy with fruit, low in tannins and pigments (color). Due to the low tannin and sparse coloring it makes blush (rosé) wine nearly everywhere it is grown. The grape is a main component of theVins du Naturels (fortified with brandy - similar to a Port wine) and simple, fruity reds of the Languedoc-Roussillon.
France – In southern Rhone it is one of the main grapes inChâteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône andGigondas. Southern Rhone red wines are divided into two categories - the traditional are deep, and full-bodied with dark coloring and a spicy finish. While the modern wine makers make wine that has up front, over the top fruit with the mineral components more secondary. Grenache is also grown across the south of France producing rustic red with rich bright fruit.
Spain - Garnacha is the name of Spanish Grenache, which can tend to come off a bit dusty and rustic. In Rioja it occupies forty percent of the total plantings. When blended with the Tempranillo grape the Grenache will smooth out the rough edges of the American oak that is used in most Spanish wine. Navarra overlaps Rioja and the wines are of the same ilk though not quite in the same league. Grenache is the prominent red grape in Priorat. This small quality wine-producing district near Barcelona produces new-style reds that are big, rich and assertive. The traditionalists from Priorat can sometimes come across as heavy and over-alcoholic, although some of the better producers will have the lush fruit to balance the wine.
Australia – This new world Grenache produces a ripe, grapey and very fruit forward style with some good examples from BarossaClareMclaren ValeNew South Wales and Victoria
Grape Aromas and Flavors
  • Grape jelly, strawberry, (Cooler areas of Australia, California).
  • Blackberry, prune, cloves, rose petal, white pepper (Temperate to warmer climate – Rhone Valley).
  • Black currant, soy, jasmine, violets and tea (warmer climate –Australia, California, Spain).
  • Oak (light) will take on hints of vanilla and sweet wood with smoky undertones
Acidity Levels – Grenache produces wines with medium to low acids. The warmer the climate, the lower the acidity level goes.
Alcohol/body –Grenache is typically a medium to high alcohol wine. In warmer climates the wines will have higher levels of alcohol equaling full-bodied wines.
Tannin structure/mouth feel – Grenache has a light tannin structure and the grape tends to oxidize easily.   If bottled on it’s own it creates a distinctive oxidative character and mouth-feel that is unique and easy to recognize. 

Thanks to BeverageBrian.com for the above article.  To learn more about Grenache pairings or other spirits, visit BeverageBrian.blogspot.com


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