Grenache has claims to have originated in Spain and Sardinia where it is known as Garnacha and Cannonau respectively. No matter where it originated this sun-loving grape has spread with great popularity across the world.
The grape’s compatibility with regions that offer long sunny summers ensures a high build up of sugars and conversely low acidity. This and its soft tannin make it a great blending grape with firmer, more structured varieties such as Syrah and Mourvedre to form the trio blend often called GSM. Grenache is frequently grown alongside its blending partners in the esteemed regions of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone valley and accross South Australia. Unlike a lot of other varieties Grenache needs relatively little attention and is quite happy to be left on poor, unirrigated soils. Because of this hearty nature, pockets of old, neglected, but still productive vines have been found around the world. With enough pruning, these old vines yield small amounts of intense fruit with spectacular results in varietal wines. Depending on where it is grown and how it is handled Grenache can vary from earthy and peppery to jammy red and black fruit with sweet spice qualities. It is also the key constituent (at least 50%) in the wines of Banyuls, one of France’s finest Vins Doux Naturels appellations.