Grenache (Noir) probably originates from Spain and is known there as Garnacha or Garnatxa (Catalonia). It is widely grown in a variety of styles. This grape variety tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can vary greatly in their tannin content. Widely planted in the south of France, in the southern Rhône Valley, Grenache partners Syrah and Mourvèdre (also called Mataro or Monastrell) to give backbone and colour to blends. However, there is now a trend to develop the grape variety as a single varietal, as some Châteauneuf du Pape producers are doing. In the Languedoc, Grenache is an important component of lighter wines and can be found in many southern French rosés, as well as in most Provence styles.
The grape variety is found throughout Spain as Garnacha Tinta and is increasingly listed on wine labels there. Together with Tempranillo, it forms the bulk of the blend for Rioja red wines and is widely grown in Navarre, where it produces lighter red wines and rosado (rosé). In Sardinia, it is found under the pseudonym Cannonau.
Its ability to function at high temperatures and without much water makes Grenache predestined for warmer growing regions. Outside Europe, Grenache is widely grown in California and Australia. Excellent Australian Grenache wines come from McLaren Vale, the Clare Valley and the Barossa Valley. Here there are some exceptional dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of amazing intensity. Following the example of southern France, Grenache also flows readily into the popular and usually fantastic GSM wines, along with blending partners Syrah/Shiraz and Mataro/Mourvèdre.
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