This native Spanish grape, also known by its French name, Grenache, is now found in just about every wine-growing corner of the world, from Spain to California and Australia, where it is the most widely used grape after Shiraz (Syrah). In France, it constitutes as much as 70% of Côtes de Rhone and Châteauneuf du Pape wines, and most of Southern France’s rosé wines.
Garnacha grapes will produce excellent red and rosé wines, aided by the famously ‘fat’ and sensual tannins. Flourishing in low-yielding soils, the Garnacha reds’ impressive expressiveness and strength have lead to the use of this grape variety within many of the world’s most-loved wine brands, just confirmation of Garnacha’s importance within the panorama of international wine.
Many critics believe that the grape is at its very best in the hot, arid and windy climates of Spain’s Aragón, Rioja and Navarra regions, where it produces high-alcohol, full-bodied wines with relatively low acidity. However, this grape, which is virtually immune to the wine world’s most deadly diseases, will also thrive in milder climates, and such well-balanced wines make it difficult to speak of one Garnacha-style wine, without giving consideration to the characteristics of the wine-growing area.
Pale in colour and high in alcohol, the wines have a herbal, peppery flavour, and a structure that lends itself perfectly to barrel-aging in French or American oak. However, non-aged Garnacha is also experiencing rapidly-growing popularity, as consumers all over the world savour the more vibrant style of wine, offering a powerful burst of ripe, forest fruit aromas with a hint of spice. This startling intensity and depth of the blackberry and sweet, jam-like aromas are complemented by a smooth, velvety texture in the mouth, and followed by a lusciously full and pleasant aftertaste. Such qualities make a Garnacha wine the ideal accompaniment to rich, red meat dishes, such as steak, pork tenderloin or spicy Spanish sausage.