Grenache

Grenache is a red grape popular in both the Old and New Worlds of wine, particularly in drier and hotter areas like Spain and South Australia, where it thrives.

What kind of wine is grenache?

A medium-bodied and very flexible wine, it forms the backbone of many Australian blends and fortifieds, most notably being the G in GSM and a major ingredient in port and many dessert wines. It also holds its own as a 100% varietal, and is currently enjoying a real resurgence as a standalone drop.

What does grenache taste like?

This grape’s use in fortified wine hints at its sweetness; high in natural sugars, fruity flavours like strawberry, raspberry, red plum and black cherry dominate at the front of the mouth, while spicy notes of cinnamon, clove and white pepper come second in this one-two punch. Grenache is a rather smooth and easy drinking wine, with the medium body matched with medium tannins and medium to low acidity. These characteristics are exactly why the wine is so popular in blends – it tends to round off the harder and sharper characteristics of other varieties, adding balance and smoothness to the mix.

Is garnacha the same as grenache?

Yes. Australia uses the French term grenache, but the grape actually originated in Spain where it’s called garnacha. Historically Spain has produced more grenache than any other country, so if you’re hunting the shelves of your local bottle store you’re likely to come across a wine labelled ‘garnacha’. The wines of Old World regions like Spain and France tend to be earthier and more herbaceous than the fruit-forward grenache common in Australia.

What wine is grenache similar to?

Australian grenache has come into its own in recent years. The first grenache vines were imported into Australia in the 1830s, and the vines of some of Australia’s biggest labels are now well over a century old. As a general rule, the wine produced by older vines are finer and more complex than those produced by young vines, so Australian grenache in its 100% varietal form is beginning to gain worldwide attention. What does all this mean when it comes to comparisons?

Such is the quality and complexity of Australian grenache that it has earned the name ‘the pinot noir of the south’. The body, flavour, aroma and smoothness of fine grenache is quite similar to that of fine pinot noir, although the difference between the two grapes becomes more apparent as the quality goes down.

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