Grenache is a popular red wine grape that also goes by the Spanish name Grenacha. It is more popular as a blended wine with fewer occurrences of it being used as a varietal wine due to its low tannin, color and acidity levels. If you are a lover of the French blend Rhone Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine then you have been drinking a blend that has Grenache as one of its dominant ingredients. Here are some things you should know about this popular Spanish grape variety.
A brief history of Grenache
Grenache originated from Spain’s northern region of Aragon before spreading to areas like Catalonia, Sardinia and the southern France area of Roussillon. There are also claims that it originated from Sardinia where it is called Cannonau before spreading to other Mediterranean lands. Grenache is popular in Australia as well where it was introduced in the 18th century and it has competed with Shyrah (Shiraz) as the most planted variety for years, it is one of the components of their fortified wines in the Australian wine industry. The grape is known for its ability to withstand heat and drought conditions and is planted in hot wine valleys which made it gain favor with California winemakers. By the 20th century, it had gained attention as a grape variety that produced good varietal wines as well as being a great base for blended wines.
Approximately how many hectares/acres are planted globally
Grenache grows well in warm and windy areas like the Mediterranean. It buds quiet early and needs time to ripen but when it does, it produces high yields. In wet areas, the grape is likely to develop diseases like downy mildew or bunch rot because of how closely the bunches grow together. It is a spicy vine with white pepper notes and fruity notes like strawberry and raspberries. When yields are closely monitored they can develop a wider profile of ginger, honey, black pepper, coffee, and leather notes. As at 2015, approximately 163,000 hectares(402,780 acres) of Grenache was planted globally
Wine colors of Grenache
Yield levels influence the colors and flavor notes of Grenache wine as older vines which produce fewer yields have a darker color and produce wine with higher tannin levels. Young vines produce a pale red wine but wines made from older vibes are capable of achieving a darker red color. Mutated paler colors of Grenache vines are used to create pale pink or rose wines.
Grape skin color and sweetness levels of Grenache
The skin of this grape is thin and the most popular variety of Grenache has dark red skin but there are other varieties due to color mutations. Among them is Grenache Blanc which has a pale green to white skin.
Grenache is an off-dry wine with medium sweetness level of 3-4 on the wine sweetness chart so it is not too sweet or too dry. Because it takes so long to ripen, the grapes have enough time to gain high sugar levels which give it a high alcohol level of at least 15%
Grenache wine is part of some highly coveted blend wines that adds body and fruity flavors to wines. It pairs well with white and red meats as well as cheeses and winter and fall dishes.