Grenache

Grenache

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Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, the south of France, and California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

's San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields
Yield (wine)
In viticulture, the yield is a measure of the amount of grapes or wine that is produced per unit surface of vineyard, and is therefore a type of crop yield...

 for best results. It tends to lack acid, tannin and color, and is usually blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan, Tempranillo
Tempranillo
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's "noble grape". Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano , a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks...

 and Cinsaut
Cinsaut
Cinsaut or Cinsault is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco...

.

Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a French wine Appellation d'origine contrôlée located around the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône wine region in southeastern France. It is the most renowned appellation of the southern part of the Rhône Valley...

 where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Australia it is typically blended in "GSM" blends with Syrah and Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre , Mataró or Monastrell is wine grape variety used to make both strong, dark red wines and rosés. It is an international variety grown in many regions around the world....

. Grenache is also used to make rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

 wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône. And the high sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wine
Fortified wine
Fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage has been added. Fortified wine is distinguished from spirits made from wine in that spirits are produced by means of distillation, while fortified wine is simply wine that has had a spirit added to it...

s, including the red vins doux naturels of Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 such as Banyuls, and as the basis of most Australian fortified wine.

History



Grenache or Garnacha (as it is known in Spain) most likely originated in the region of Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 in northern Spain, according to ampelographical evidence. Plantings probably spread from the original birthplace to Catalonia and other lands under the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 such as Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 and Rousillon in southern France. An early synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for the vine was Tinto Aragonés (red of Aragon). The grape is known as Cannonau in Sardinia, where it is claimed that it originated there and spread to other Mediterranean lands under Aragon rule. Grenache, under its Spanish synonym Garnacha, was already well established on both sides of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 when the Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 region was annexed by France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. From there the vine made its way through the Languedoc and to the Southern Rhone region where it was well established by the 19th century. Despite its prevalence in nearby Navarra and Catalonia, Garnacha was not widely planted in the Rioja
Rioja (wine)
Rioja is a wine, with Denominación de Origen Calificada named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja...

 till the early 20th century as vineyards were replanted following the phylloxera epidemic.

Grenache was one of the first varieties to be introduced to Australia in the 18th century and eventually became the country's most widely planted red wine grape variety until it was surpassed by Shiraz in the mid 1960s. Early Australian Grenache was a main component in the sweet fortified wines that was the lynchpin of the early Australian wine industry. In the 19th century, California wine
California wine
California wine has a long and continuing history, and in the late twentieth century became recognized as producing some of the world's finest wine. While wine is made in all fifty U.S. states, up to 90% of American wine is produced in the state...

 growers prized the vine's ability to produce high yields
Yield (wine)
In viticulture, the yield is a measure of the amount of grapes or wine that is produced per unit surface of vineyard, and is therefore a type of crop yield...

 and withstand heat and drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 conditions. The grape was extensively planted throughout the hot San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 where it was mainly used as a blending component for pale, sweet jug wine
Jug wine
Jug wine is a term in the United States for inexpensive table wine typically bottled in a glass jug.Historically, jug wines were labeled semi-generically, often sold to third parties to be relabeled, or sold directly from the winery's tasting room to customers who would often bring their own bottles...

s. In the late 20th century, the Rhone Rangers
Rhone Rangers
The Rhone Rangers are a group of winemakers who promote the use of grape varieties from the Rhône Valley in the south of France. They are mostly based in the Central Coast of California and are now organized into a not-for-profit organization for the promotion of wines containing at least 75% of...

 movement brought attention to the production of premium varietal
Varietal
"Varietal" describes wines made primarily from a single named grape variety, and which typically displays the name of that variety on the wine label. Examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot...

 Grenache and Rhone style blends modeled after the Grenache dominate wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In the early 20th century, Grenache was one of the first Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

grapes to be successfully vinified in during the early development of the Washington wine
Washington Wine
Washington wine is wine produced from grape varieties grown in the U.S. state of Washington. Washington ranks second in the United States in the production of wine, behind only California. By 2006, the state had over of vineyards, a harvest of of grapes, and exports going to over 40 countries...

 industry with a 1966 Yakima Valley rosé earning mention in wine historian Leon Adams
Leon Adams
Leon Adams was an American journalist, publicist, historian and co-founder of the Wine Institute. In 1958, Adams book Commonsense Book of Wine was published, which sought to bring table wine into everyday life in the United States...

 treatise The Wines of America.

Viticulture



The Grenache vine is characterized by its strong wood canopy
Canopy (vine)
In viticulture, the canopy of a grapevine includes the parts of the vine visible aboveground - the trunk, cordon, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. The canopy plays a key role in light energy capture via photosynthesis, water use as regulated by transpiration, and microclimate of ripening grapes...

 and upright growth. It has good wind tolerance (which is useful in the Mistral
Mistral (wind)
The mistral is a strong, cold and usually dry regional wind in France, coming from the north or northwest, which accelerates when it passes through the valleys of the Rhone and the Durance Rivers to the coast of the Mediterranean around the Camargue region. It affects the northeast of the plain...

influenced Rhone region) and has shown itself to be very suited for the dry, warm windy climate around the Mediterranean. The vine buds early and requires a long growing season in order to fully ripen. Grenache is often one of the last grapes to be harvested
Harvest (wine)
The harvesting of wine grapes is one of the most crucial steps in the process of winemaking. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to...

, often ripening weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

. The long ripening process allows the sugars in the grape to reach high levels, making Grenache based wines capable of substantial alcohol levels, often at least 15% ABV
ABV
ABV is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:* Alcohol by volume, a measure of the alcohol content of alcoholic drinks* Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria, from its IATA airport code...

. While the vine is generally vigorous, it is susceptible to various grape diseases that can affect the yield and quality of the grape production such as coulure
Coulure
Coulure is a potential viticultural hazard that is the result of metabolic reactions to weather conditions that causes a failure of grapes to develop after flowering. In English the word shatter is sometimes used. Coulure is triggered by periods of cold, cloudy, rainy weather or very high...

, bunch rot and downy mildew
Downy mildew
Downy mildew refers to any of several types of oomycete microbes that are obligate parasites of plants. Downy mildews exclusively belong to Peronosporaceae. In commercial agriculture, they are a particular problem for growers of crucifers, grapes and vegetables that grow on vines...

 due to the vine's tight grape clusters. Marginal and wet climates can increase Grenache's propensity to develop these viticultural dangers. The vine's drought resistance is dependent on the type of rootstock
Rootstock
A rootstock is a plant, and sometimes just the stump, which already has an established, healthy root system, used for grafting a cutting or budding from another plant. The tree part being grafted onto the rootstock is usually called the scion...

 it is planted on but on all types of rootstocks, Grenache seems to respond favorably to some degree of water stress
Water stress
Researchers define water stress and water scarcity in different ways. For example, some have presented maps showing the physical existence of water in nature to show nations with lower or higher volumes of water available for use. Others have related water availability to population...

.

Grenache prefers hot, dry soils that are well drained but it relatively adaptable to all vineyard soil types. In southern France, Grenache thrives on schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 and granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 soils and has responded well to the stony soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape with the area's galets roulés heat retaining stones. In Priorat, the crumbly schist soil of the region retain enough water to allow producers to avoid irrigation in the dry wine region. Vineyards with an overabundance of irrigation tend to produce pale colored wines with diluted flavors and excessive alcohol. The skin of Grenache is thin and lightly pigmented, making wines with pale color and low tannins. Older vines with low yields can increase the concentration of phenolic compounds and produced darker, more tannic wines such as those found in the Priorat
Priorat (DOQ)
Priorat is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Calificada for wines produced in the Priorat county to the south-west of Catalonia...

 region of Spain where yields are often around 5-6 hectoliters/hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

 (less than half a ton
Ton
The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

 per acre
Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

). Yield control is intimately connected with the resulting quality of wine with yields below 35 hl/ha (2 tons/acre), such as those practiced by many Châteauneuf-du-Pape estates, producing very different wines than those with yields closer to 50 hl/ha (5 tons/acre) which is the base yield for Appellation d'origine contrôlée
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
Appellation d’origine contrôlée , which translates as "controlled designation of origin", is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut National...

(AOC) wines labeled under the Côtes du Rhône designation. The strong wood canopy of Grenache makes the vine difficult to harvest with mechanical harvesters and pruning equipment and more labor intensive to cultivate. In highly mechanized wine regions, such as Australia and California, this has contributed to a decline in the vine's popularity.

Mutants and crosses


Over centuries, the Grenache vine has produced mutation vines with berries of all range of colors. While Grenache noir or "red" Grenache is the most well known, Grenache blanc
Grenache Blanc
Grenache blanc is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigor can lead to overproduction and...

 or "white" Grenache is a very important grape variety in France where it is the fourth most widely planted white variety after Ugni blanc, Chardonnay
Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

 and Semillon
Sémillon
Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape used to make dry and sweet white wines, most notably in France and Australia.-History:The origin of the Sémillon grape is hard to determine. It is known that it first arrived in Australia in the early 19th century and by the 1820s the grape covered over 90 percent...

. Like Grenache noir, it is a permitted variety in the blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In Southern France and Sardinia, the mutants Grenache rose and Grenache gris are also found making pale rosé and lightly tinted white wines. There is currently not consensus among ampelographers about whether Garnacha Peluda or "hairy Grenache" with its downy undersides of leaves is mutation of Grenache or just a relative vine. The vine known as Garnacha Tintorera is a synonym for the teinturier
Teinturier
Teinturier, a French language term meaning to dye or stain, is a wine term applied to grapes whose flesh and juice is red in colour due to anthocyanin pigments accumulating within the pulp of the grape berry itself. In most cases, anthocyanin pigments are confined to the outer skin tissue only, and...

 grape Alicante which is a crossing of Grenache and Petite Bouschet. In 1961, a cross between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon produced the French wine grape Marselan
Marselan
Marselan is a French wine grape that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It was first bred in 1961 near the French town of Marseillan. The vine is grown mostly in the Languedoc region with some plantings on Northern Coast of California. The grape produces a medium body red wine....

.

Winemaking



Grenache is often used as a blending component, adding body and sweet fruitiness to a wine. The grape can be troublesome for the winemaker due to tendency to oxidize easily and lose color. To compensate for the grape's naturally low tannins and phenolic compounds, some producers will use excessively harsh pressing and hot fermentation
Fermentation (wine)
The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide...

 with stems to extract the maximal amount of color and phenols from the skins. This can backfire to produce green, herbaceous flavors and coarse, astringent wine lacking the grape's characteristic vibrant fruitiness. To maintain those character traits, Grenache responds best to a long, slow fermentation at cooler temperatures followed by a maceration
Maceration (wine)
Maceration is the winemaking process where the phenolic materials of the grape— tannins, coloring agents and flavor compounds— are leached from the grape skins, seeds and stems into the must. Maceration is the process by which the red wine receives its red color, since 99% of all grape juice is...

 period. To curb against oxidation, the wine should be racked as little as possible. The use of new oak barrels can help with retaining color and preventing oxidation but too much oak influence can cover up the fruitiness of Grenache.

The high levels of sugars and lack of harsh tannins, makes Grenache well adapted to the production of fortified wines, such as the vin doux naturels (VDN) of the Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

 region and the "port-style" wines of Australia. In these wines, the must ferments for 3 days before grape spirit is added to the must to halt the fermentation and the conversion of sugar into alcohol. The high alcoholic proof grape spirit brings the finish wine up to 15-16% alcohol. These wines can be made in a rancio style by leaving it outside in glass demi-johns (or carboy
Carboy
A carboy is a rigid container with a typical capacity of 5 to 15 gallons . Carboys are primarily used for transporting fluids, often water or chemicals.They are also used for in-home fermentation of beverages, often wine.-Brewing:...

s) or wooden barrels where the wine bakes in the sun for several years until it develops a maderized character and flavors of sour raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

s, nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

 and cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

. These fortified VDNs and port-style wines have longevity and can be drinkable well into their third decade.

Wine regions


Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world with France and Spain being its largest principle wine regions. In the late 20th century, total acreage of Grenache in Spain has been on the decline with the vineyards being uprooted in lieu of the more fashionable Tempranillo
Tempranillo
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's "noble grape". Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano , a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks...

, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
Merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

. Between the late 1980s and 2004, Spanish plantings dropped from 420000 acres (169,968.1 ha) to 203370 acres (82,301 ha) allowing France with its 236500 acres (95,708.2 ha) to assume the mantle as the world's largest source of Grenache. As of 2000, Grenache was the third most widely planted red wine grape variety in France, behind Merlot and Carignan. From French nurseries, Grenache has become the fourth most widely propagated vine with more than 23 million cuttings sold since 1998 according to French ampelographer Pierre Galet
Pierre Galet
Pierre Galet is a French ampelographer and author who was an influential figure within ampelography in the 20th century and before DNA typing was widely introduced...

.

France



In France, Grenache is most widely associated with the wines of the Rhone and southern France. Its history in the Rhone can be traced to the influence of Burgundian wine merchants in the 17-18th centuries who were seeking a blending variety to add body and alcohol content to their light body wines. Grenache, with its propensity for high alcohol and high yields, fit those desire nicely and was widely planted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas and Vacqueyras regions. Today Grenache is most widely planted in the Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the 27 regions of France. It comprises five departments, and borders the other French regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne, Midi-Pyrénées on the one side, and Spain, Andorra and the Mediterranean sea on the other side.-Geography:The region is...

 region where it is widely blended with Carignan, Cinsaut
Cinsaut
Cinsaut or Cinsault is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco...

, Syrah and Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre , Mataró or Monastrell is wine grape variety used to make both strong, dark red wines and rosés. It is an international variety grown in many regions around the world....

. The vine also has sizable plantings in the Drôme
Drôme
Drôme , a department in southeastern France, takes its name from the Drôme River.-History:The French National Constituent Assembly set up Drôme as one of the original 83 departments of France on March 4, 1790, during the French Revolution...

 department. The vine's strong, hard wood and affinity for bush vine training allows it to thrive in the Mistral
Mistral (wind)
The mistral is a strong, cold and usually dry regional wind in France, coming from the north or northwest, which accelerates when it passes through the valleys of the Rhone and the Durance Rivers to the coast of the Mediterranean around the Camargue region. It affects the northeast of the plain...

 influenced southern Rhone regions of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache noir is the most common variety of the 13 permitted varieties, although some producers in recent years have been using a higher proportion of Mourvèdre. Grenache produces a sweet juice that can have almost a jam-like consistency when very ripe. Syrah is typically blended to provide color and spice, while Mourvèdre can add elegance and structure to the wine.

The grape's thin skin and pale coloring makes its well suited for the production of full bodied, fruit rosé
Rosé
A rosé is a type of wine that has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.- Production techniques :There are three major ways to produce rosé...

wines. Grenache is the principle grape behind the rosés of Tavel and Lirac and its plays an important role in the Provence region as well. In the Roussillon region, Grenache noir and its gris and blanc mutations are used in the production of the fortified vin doux naturels of Banyuls and Maury. The characteristic of French Grenache based wines depend largely on what other grape varieties it is blended with and can range from the spicy richness associated with Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the chewy fruitiness associated with basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. Other regions with sizable plantings of Grenache include the Appellation d'origine contrôlée
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
Appellation d’origine contrôlée , which translates as "controlled designation of origin", is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut National...

(AOC) regions of Minervois, Fitou and Corbières.

Spain


In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha and given the likely history of the grape this is most likely the grape's original name. There are several clonal varieties of Garnacha with the thin-skinned, dark colored Garnacha Tinta (sometimes spelled Tinto) being the most common. Another variety, known as Garnacha Peluda or "Hairy Grenache" due to the soft downy texture on the underside of the vine's leaves is also found in Spain, mostly in Priorat
Priorat (DOQ)
Priorat is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Calificada for wines produced in the Priorat county to the south-west of Catalonia...

. Widely planted in northeastern and central Spain, Garnacha was long considered a "workhorse" grape of low quality suitable for blending. In the late 20th century, the success of the Garnacha based wines from Priorat
Priorat (DOQ)
Priorat is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Calificada for wines produced in the Priorat county to the south-west of Catalonia...

 in Catalonia (as well as the emerging international attention given to the New World Rhone Rangers) sparked a re-evaluation of this "workhorse" variety. Today it is the third most widely planted red grape variety in Spain (behind Tempranillo
Tempranillo
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's "noble grape". Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano , a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks...

 and Bobal) with more than 203300 acres (82,272.7 ha) and is seen in both varietal wines and blends.

Garnacha plays a major role in the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOQ) wines of Rioja
Rioja (wine)
Rioja is a wine, with Denominación de Origen Calificada named after La Rioja, in Spain. Rioja is made from grapes grown not only in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, but also in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja...

 and Priorat and the Denominación de Origen
Denominación de Origen
Denominación de Origen is part of a regulatory classification system primarily for Spanish wines but also for other foodstuffs like honey, meats and condiments. In wines it parallels the hierarchical system of France and Italy although Rioja and Sherry preceded the full system...

(DO) wines of Navarra and all southern Aragonese and southern Catalonian appellations, plus the mountainous areas just southwest of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

: Méntrida
Méntrida
Méntrida is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines covering many municipalities in the northeast corner of the province of Toledo and which is divided into three distinct areas: Talavera, Torrijos, and Sagra-Toledo, with over 26,000 ha under vines, the majority being in...

 and Cebreros. In Rioja the grape is planted mostly in the warmer Rioja Baja region located in the eastern expanse of the wine region. Usually blended with Tempranillo, Garnacha provides juicy fruitiness and added body. In recent years, modern Rioja producers have been increasing the amount of Garnacha used in the blend in order to produce earlier maturing and more approachable Riojas in their youth. Garnacha is also used in the pale colored rosados of Rioja. The vine has a long history in the Navarra region where it has been the dominant red grape variety with nearly 54% of the region's vineyard planted with Garnacha. Compared to neighboring Rioja, the Garnacha-based blends of Navarra are lighter and fruitier, meant for earlier consumption.


Other Spanish wine regions with sizable Garnacha plantings include-Campo de Borja
Campo de Borja
Campo de Borja is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in the Campo de Borja comarca, northwest of the province of Zaragoza...

, Cariñena
Cariñena (DO)
Cariñena is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in Cariñena, Aragón, Spain. It is one of the oldest protected growing areas in Europe, the DO having been created in 1932. Cariñena vineyards are located near the centre of Aragón, about 50 km southwest of Zaragoza, on a plateau known...

, Costers del Segre
Costers del Segre
Costers del Segre is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in the province of Lleida and is divided into several separate sub-zones. The four original subzones created in 1988 are Artesa, to the northeast of Lleida, Valls de Riucorb to the east, Garrigues and Raïmat...

, Empordà
Empordà (DO)
Empordà is a Spanish Denominación de Origen , formerly known as Empordà-Costa Brava, for wines produced in the northeastern corner of Catalonia, Spain....

, La Mancha
La Mancha (DO)
La Mancha is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines, with over 190,000 ha planted to vines, and is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world. It is located in the autonomous region of Castile-La Mancha in central Spain and includes 182 municipalities: 12 in the province of...

, Madrid, Méntrida
Méntrida
Méntrida is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines covering many municipalities in the northeast corner of the province of Toledo and which is divided into three distinct areas: Talavera, Torrijos, and Sagra-Toledo, with over 26,000 ha under vines, the majority being in...

, Penedès
Penedès
Penedès is a natural and historical region of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. It is located in the south of the Principality of Catalonia between the pre-coastal mountain range and the Mediterranean sea...

, Somontano
Somontano
Somontano is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines, created in 1984, and located in the county of the same name, in the province of Huesca, . It borders the regions of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in the North, Hoya de Huesca in the West, the Monegros in the South, and the region of Litera in the...

, Tarragona
Tarragona (DO)
Tarragona is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in the province of Tarragona and covers three distinct areas: the Camp de Tarragona, a part of the Priorat comarca and a part of the Ribera d'Ebre comarca...

 and Terra Alta
Terra Alta (DO)
Terra Alta is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines located in the west of the province of Tarragona and covers 12 inland municipalities. As the name indicates the area is in the mountains...

.

Priorat


Ampelographers believe Garnacha has had a presence in the Priorat
Priorat
Priorat is a comarca in Catalonia, Spain. The central part of the comarca, "Priorat històric," produces the famous and prestigious wine of the Denominación de Origen Calificada Priorat. Wines from elsewhere in the comarca are denominated as Montsant...

 region of Catalonia for several hundred years (possibly nearly 800 years) but since the 1990s the region's old Garnacha have garnered much attention. A wave of ambitious young winemakers rediscovered the low-yield, bush-vine trained Garnacha planted throughout the llicorella (brown schist) based soils of Priorat. This unique combination of extremely old vines (the average age in most vineyards is between 35–60 years) planted on steep terraces and soil produces very low yields (around 5-6 hectoliters per hectare) which makes Priorat a dense, rich concentrated and dark colored wine with noticeable tannins. The traditional Priorat wine would be almost black in color and require years of aging before it would be approachable to drink. Nearly 40% of all the vineyard land in the Priorat region is planted to Garnacha, and most of the rest is Carignan but the acreage of Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

, Syrah and Merlot
Merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

 increased before 2000 as modernist producers sought to blend those varieties to add complexity. Some of these new modern style Priorats tend to show softer, blackberry
Blackberry
The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by any of several species in the Rubus genus of the Rosaceae family. The fruit is not a true berry; botanically it is termed an aggregate fruit, composed of small drupelets. The plants typically have biennial canes and perennial roots. Blackberries and...

 fruit in their youth and over time develop notes of fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

s and tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

.

Other Old World regions


In Italy, Grenache is most commonly found as Cannonau in Sardinia where it is one of the principal grapes in the island's deeply colored, full bodied red wines that routinely maintain alcohol levels around 15%. Outside of Sardinia, Grenache is also found in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Umbria (in Trasimeno lake area) and Calabria. Grenache has been grown in Israel since the 19th century and was once an important grape in the Algerian wine
Algerian wine
Algerian wine is wine made from the North African country of Algeria. While not a significant force on the world's wine market today, Algeria has played an important role in the history of wine. Algeria's viticultural history dates back to its settlement by the Phoenicians and continued under...

 industry. Today there are still some producers in Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 producing Grenache rosés. Sizable plantings of Grenache are also found in Cyprus and scattered among the Greek islands.

Australia



A clone from Perpignan
Perpignan
-Sport:Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the Top 14 , while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.-Culture:Since 2004, every year in the...

 arrived in Australia with James Busby
James Busby
James Busby is widely regarded as the "father" of the Australian wine industry, as he took the first collection of vine stock from Spain and France to Australia. Later he become a British Resident who traveled to New Zealand, involved in the drafting of the Declaration of the Independence of New...

 in his 1832 collection. More significant was the introduction into South Australia of new cuttings from the South of France, by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold in 1844. Plantings in South Australia boomed, particularly in McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale is a wine region approximately 35 km south of Adelaide in South Australia. It has a population of about 2,000 and is internationally renowned for the wines it produces. The region was named after either David McLaren, the Colonial Manager of the South Australia Company or John...

, the Barossa Valley
Barossa Valley (wine)
The Barossa Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine regions. Located in South Australia, the Barossa Valley is about 56km northeast of the city of Adelaide...

 and Clare Valley
Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine regions, best known for Riesling wines. It lies in the Mid North of South Australia, approximately 120 km north of Adelaide. The valley runs north-south, with Main North Road as the main thoroughfare....

. Until the mid 20th century, Grenache was Australia's most widely planted red wine grape variety with significant plantings in the vast Riverland
Riverland
The Riverland, is a region of South Australia. It covers the area near the Murray River from where it flows into South Australia downstream to Blanchetown.The major town centres are Renmark, Berri, Loxton, Waikerie and Barmera...

 region where it was vital component in the fortified "port-style" wines of the early Australian industry. As Australian winemakers started to focus more of premium still wines, Grenache gradually fell out of favor being supplanted by Shiraz and later Cabernet Sauvignon in Australian vineyards. The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a revival of interest in Grenache with old vine plantings in South Australia being used to produce varietal Grenache as well as a "GSM"-Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre-blends becoming popular. Varietal Grenache from the McLaren Vale is characterized by luscious richness and spicy notes while Barossa Valley Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness.

United States


In the early California wine industry, Grenache's high yields and alcohol level made it an ideal blending component for jug wine production. Early plantings centered in the hot central San Joaquin Valley where it was used to produce sweet, pale colored "white Grenache" wines similar in quality and substance to White Zinfandel
White Zinfandel
White Zinfandel, often abbreviated as White Zin, is an off-dry to sweet, pink-colored blush wine. White Zinfandel is made from the Zinfandel wine grape, which would otherwise produce a bold and spicy red wine. As such, it is not a grape variety but a method of processing Zinfandel grapes...

. The late 20th century saw a revival of interest in the variety spearheaded by the Rhone Rangers movement. These producers imported new cuttings from the Rhone valley for planting in the cooler Central Coast region for use in the production of premium varietal Grenache and Rhone style blends. Some historic old vine plantings of Grenache in Mendocino County has also garnered interest in recent years. In the early 20th century, Grenache was one of the first Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

grapes to be successfully vinified in during the early development of the Washington wine
Washington Wine
Washington wine is wine produced from grape varieties grown in the U.S. state of Washington. Washington ranks second in the United States in the production of wine, behind only California. By 2006, the state had over of vineyards, a harvest of of grapes, and exports going to over 40 countries...

 industry with a 1966 Yakima Valley rosé earning mention in wine historian Leon Adams
Leon Adams
Leon Adams was an American journalist, publicist, historian and co-founder of the Wine Institute. In 1958, Adams book Commonsense Book of Wine was published, which sought to bring table wine into everyday life in the United States...

 treatise The Wines of America. Despite its long history, Grenache has been a minor grape variety in Washington but has seen an increase in plantings in recent years due to the Rhone Ranger movement in the state. Older plantings in the Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area
American Viticultural Area
An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau , United States Department of the Treasury....

s (AVAs) has also begun attracted interest.

Other New World wine regions


Despite being one of the world's most widely planted red grape varieties, Grenache's colonization of the New World has been limited apart from strongholds in Australia and California. The rising popularity and success of the Rhone Ranger's movement has brought greater attention to the variety and more plantings of Grenache are popping up every year in places like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa.

Wines



While Grenache is most often encountered in blended wines (such as the Rhone wines or GSM blends), varietal examples of Grenache do exist. As a blending component, Grenache is valued for the added body and fruitiness that it brings without added tannins. As a varietal, the grapes naturally low concentration of phenolics contribute to its pale color and lack of extract but viticultural practices and low yields can increase the concentrations of phenolic compounds. Grenache based wines tend to be made for early consumption with its propensity for oxidation make it a poor candidate for long term aging. However, producers (such as some examples from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Priorat) who use low yields grown on poor soils can produce dense, concentrated wines that can benefit from cellaring. The fortified vin doux naturels of France and Australian "port-style" wines are protected from Grenache's propensity for oxidation by the fortification process and can usually be drinkable for two or three decades.

The characteristic notes of Grenache are berry fruit such as raspberries
Raspberry
The raspberry or hindberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves...

 and strawberries
Strawberry
Fragaria is a genus of flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, commonly known as strawberries for their edible fruits. Although it is commonly thought that strawberries get their name from straw being used as a mulch in cultivating the plants, the etymology of the word is uncertain. There...

. When yields are kept in check, Grenache based wines can develop complex and intense notes of blackcurrant
Blackcurrant
Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, is a species of Ribes berry native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia, and is a perennial....

s, black cherries
Black Cherry
Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is a woody plant species belonging to the genus Prunus...

, black olives, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, gingerbread
Gingerbread
Gingerbread is a term used to describe a variety of sweet food products, which can range from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. What they have in common are the predominant flavors of ginger and a tendency to use honey or molasses rather than just sugar...

, honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

, black pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, tar, spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, and roasted nuts. When yields are increased, more overtly earthy and herbal notes emerge that tend to quickly fade on the palate. The very low yielding old vines of Priorat can impart dark black fruits and notes of figs and tar with many traits similar to the Italian wine
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

 Amarone
Amarone
Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina , Rondinella and Molinara varieties. The wine was awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata status in December 1990...

. Rosado or rosé Grenaches are often characterized by their strawberry and cream notes while fortified vin doux nautrels and Australian "port style" wines exhibits coffee and nutty tawny-like notes.

Synonyms


Grenache is known under a variety of synonyms across the globe. These include-Abundante, Aleante, Aleantedi Rivalto, Aleante Poggiarelli, Alicant Blau, Alicante, Alicante Grenache, Aragones, Bois Jaune, Cannonaddu, Cannonadu Nieddu, Cannonau, Cannonau Selvaggio, Canonazo, Carignane Rosso, Elegante, Francese, Gamay del Trasimeno, Garnaccho Negro, Garnacha Comun, Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Roja, Garnacha Tinta, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Pais, Gironet, Granaccia, Granaxa, Grenache Noir, Grenache Rouge, Kek Grenache, Lladoner, Mencida, Navaro, Navarra, Navarre de la Dordogne, Navarro, Negru Calvese, Ranconnat, Red Grenache, Redondal, Retagliadu Nieddu, Rivesaltes, Roussillon Tinto, Roussillon, Rouvaillard, Sans Pareil, Santa Maria de Alcantara, Tentillo, Tintella, Tintilla, Tinto Menudo, Tinto Navalcarnero, Tocai Rosso, Toledana and Uva di Spagna.

Synonyms for the hairy Grenache include Garnatca Peluda, Garnatxa Pelud, Lladoner Gris, Lladoner Pelud and Lledoner Pelut.