Red Grenache, or “Garnacha” as the grape is known in Spain, is the world’s fourth most planted variety. Yet, it is less well known, probably because its name is hardly ever seen on a wine label. Grenache tends to produce light-coloured wines with good roundness; brimming with juicy strawberry fruit they show moderate acidity and tannins. Thus the grape is usually blended with other varieties such as Tempranillo in Spain or Syrah in France.
Grenache excels in hot, dry climates and is found in Southern France, Spain and the warm regions of Australia and California. To produce truly excellent wines such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône or Priorat in Spain, yields need to be restricted and great care needs to be taken in making the wines. Grenache excels as the vine ages and the old abandoned terraces in the Rhône and in Priorat have produced some beautiful old, gnarly vines which create legendary wines with dark, silky tannins and notes of berries, spice, herbs and wild flowers.
Grenache is also popular in the production of rosé wines, usually bright pink in colour and strawberry-scented as in Tavel, which is dry but blessed with the fruity sweetness of Grenache. Grenache is becoming increasingly popular in the New World, especially in California and Australia and is also used to make fortified wines such as Banyuls.