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Grenache: A World Traveler

Fri, Dec 02, 22

Grenache collection available in

Great Falls



Grenache is truly a world traveler. From its origin in Spain to Portugal, France, Italy, Israel, Australia, the United States, and South Africa, Grenache appears on its own or in iconic blends; however, what remains constant is its changing expression throughout the wine regions of the world. The grape is relatively durable, and it is one of the most planted grapes in the world. See above for a link to the wines mentioned below, and let’s explore what makes Grenache such a versatile and influential grape in the wine world.

Spain is Grenache’s original home where it is largely referred to as Garnacha. Northeast Spain is a hub for world-class Grenache through its slate soils, Mediterranean influence, and years of winemaking tradition. An area of Catalonia called Priorat boasts rich and intense wine that often are Garnacha-dominant. These wines ripen nicely through the suns reflection off of the slate soil, while also retaining acidity through the Mistral winds that blow through the vineyards. Grapes such as Carignan and even Cabernet Sauvignon do very well here, but one can find bottlings of 100% Garnacha particularly in the adjacent region of Terra Alta. A great example of a 100% Garnacha wine from Northeast, Spain is the 2015 Ludovicus Tinto Garnacha. In this part of Terra Alta, there is more limestone and a higher elevation than many areas in Priorat. This gives the wine a delicacy with its leaner style and higher acidity than one might expect. In no way is the wine big a brooding, but instead, its time in French and American Oak barrels in conjunction with its ripe fruit give the wine smooth tannins, a long finish, and versatility when it comes to food pairing. If you are a fan of Priorat or if you like Grenache that isn’t too full-bodied, this is an excellent option.

Wine Map of Spain from Wine Folly: https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/map-of-spain-wine-regions/

Moving away from Spain and into France, Grenache has found a home in the Southern Rhone that has stuck since the 14th Century. In 1309, Pope Clement V moved his Papal court to Avignon, France, which is geographically very close to the wine region Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This wine region is famous for its Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre (GSM) blends, and the entire Southern Rhone Valley produces some of the most coveted Grenache in the world. As an example of French Grenache with its Syrah counterpart, we highly recommend Romaine Duvernay’s Domaine de Cabane Cote du Rhone. The Duvernay family has been making wine since the early 20th century, and their Domaine de Cabane boasts 70% Grenache along with 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. This wine has notes stereotypical of Grenache with strawberries, cherries, plums, and leather. Try this wine next to the Ludovicus to help find your palate preferences!

Chateauneuf-du-Pape Grenache bush vines from Wine Folly: https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-chateauneuf-du-pape-wine-and-more/

The United States is also no stranger to Grenache. So-called Rhone Rangers use GSM blends in a wide range of regions in the U.S. including Paso Robles, Washington State, and even Arizona and Texas. High On The Hog is a staple for us at the Wine Outlet, and you can find more information about this incredible value wine here. The U.S. also has single varietal example such as Andis Wines’ Grenache Noir from California’s Sierra Foothills. Made with 100% Grenache, this wine is fermented in steel tanks and then aged in 20% new French Oak. This means that a few notes of vanilla, clove, and nutmeg work their way into the wine to add a layer of complexity as well as soften the wine’s tannins. What is fascinating about this wine is that it shows the versatility of Grenache. Andis aimed to have their Grenache pay tribute to Pinot Noir in its expression. As another thin-skinned variety Grenache and Pinot Noir share some similarities, but this example from Andis emphasizes the soft character of Grenache. This is a great easy-drinking Grenache worthy of the end of summer.

Andis Winery from Amador Vintners: https://amadorwine.com/andis-wines/

As mentioned above, check out our collection at the top of this post, happy, sipping, and cheers!

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