Today is International Grenache Day 2020. Below, we’ll let you know all about the grenache grape, the wines, the grenache-growing regions and give you some grenache recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.
What is grenache?
Grenache is both the grape and the wine from which it is made.
In Australia you might also know it as the “G” in GSM which is a blend of Grenache with Shiraz and Mourvèdre.
You might also know it by some of the other names below.
It’s origins are hotly contested with Spain, France and Italy’s Sardinia all laying claim to the grape’s origin.
Where is it grown?
Since 2004, France is the world’s largest source of grenache with its 236,500 acres (95,700 ha).
Grenache is most widely planted in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region where it is widely blended with Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Grenache vines also have sizable plantings in the Drôme department. It thrives in the southern Rhone regions of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.
In France, Grenache is a classic part of the classic Rhône blend. In the Côtes du Rhône, Grenache must comprise at least 50% of the blend along with Syrah (Shiraz) and Mourvedre. (like GSM).
Rosés made with grenaches
Apart from Grenache as a single-varietal wine, GSM and the Rhône blend mentioned above, Grenache is also used in rosés. It is the principal grape behind the rosés of Tavel and Lirac and its plays an important role in the Provence region as well. In the Roussillon region, Grenache noir and its gris and blanc mutations are used in the production of the fortified vin doux naturels of Banyuls and Maury.
Within Australia, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale are key Grenache regions. It’s no coincidence either as these are both some of the oldest regions and Grenache thrives in warm climates and improves as the vines age.
Grenache is grown in many other countries from the old world wine regions including Italy, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Cyprus and the Greek islands. Among the new world wine regions, apart from Australia it is also found in USA (California) and Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa.
Grenache has a similar weight and tannin structure to a light to medium bodied Shiraz. Grenache is light on the palate and is all about purity of fruit. It has aromas like pomegranate, wild strawberries, violets and red fruits and a palate that’s restrained and fine in texture.
Are you thirsty? What should we drink?
We asked French wine importers which Grenaches they recommend for International Grenache Day 2020. Find out what they said below.
AIROLDI FINE WINES
**Enter the code “Marseillaise” at check out to get a discount of 20%**
Daniel Airoldi from Airoldi Fine Wines spoke to us ahead of International Grenache Day 2020
Which grenache do you recommend for the International Grenache Day?
I recommend the Rivesaltes 1961 from Château Prieuré du Monastir del Camp
Why do you recommend this grenache?
When you think of Grenache, you go straight to the Grenache Noir, but there is another option under the name Grenache. This Rivesaltes is a blend of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc, which has mutated with the addition of pure alcohol at the beginning of fermentation which has then passed most of its ageing in barrels before being bottled in 2016. These are immortal and historic wines but are unfortunately forgotten by most.
What would you eat with this grenache?
A platter of blue-veined cheese such as Roquefort or a chocolate tart.
Nathalie and her team at Bottli had a chat to us about their favourite grenache.
My favorite Grenache is a Red Wine Côtes du Rhône – 1753 from the Château de Campuget. The Château de Campuget was established in 1942and is a top quality estate near Nîmes with a long history. In its cellar, tradition and progress unite to provide aroma, finesse and bouquet and it uses a wide range of traditional Rhone grapes to produce full, easy and spicy wines.
Costieres de Nimes, the easternmost appellation of the Languedoc, is effectively part of the Rhone since the climate, soil and topography are so similar to those just over the river in the southern Cotes-du-Rhone vineyards. The relatively uniform soils are marked by the large pebbles on gentle, typically south-facing slopes.
The wine has dark and deep that gives me an intense ruby colour. The nose reveals aromas of red fruit cherry mixed with spicy notes and dried herbs. The taste follows on to a dark concentrated core of fruit on the palate with fruits (raspberries, cherries), earthy, spicy medium bodied and well rounded. The tannins are tender and supple, marked by finesse & elegance.
This wine goes very well with main dishes based on meat as wild boar or lamb.
Bottli is offer a discount for this special day: just enter the code “Grenache Day” to receive 20% off discount.
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Jean-Francois Gavanon from Cyrano Wines talks grenache.
A black grape variety originally from Spain, Grenache Noir is one of the great grape varieties of the south of France. It is the 8th most planted grape variety in the world.
Grenache produces warm wines, with aromas of red fruits (cherry) and spices, and round tannins.
These wines are quite colourful, lively and alcoholic. For this reason Grenache is frequently blended with other varieties to obtain a better balance such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan or Cinsault.
Which grenaches do you recommend for International Grenache Day 2020?
I recommend the following 100% Grenache wines:
- In France, Châteauneuf du Pape, champion Grenache appellation: Domaine de la Janasse, Cuvée Chaupin.
- In Australia, the Barossa offers Grenache an exceptional terroir: Torbreck, Harris Grenache.
Maurice Barnouin of Domaine Gournier grows his Grenache on the limestone slopes of the lower Cévennes, producing a lively, crisp wine with aromas of ripe red fruit, melted tanins and great length on the palate.
Carbonic fermentation. Aged on lees for 12 months in oak barrels.
Because I sell this wine and I believe in its qualities!
What would you eat with these grenaches?
Charcuterie, Quiche Lorraine, Basque chicken, Rack of lamb, Cévennes Pélardon, Fig tart.
Craig and Helen from DiscoverVin give us their recommendation for International Grenache Day 2020.
Which grenache do you recommend?
This is grenache with a wow factor. From perhaps the best grenache terroir in the world Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Normally a blend of up to 13 permitted grape varieties, this one is 100% grenache from old vines. It is made with biodynamic practices so no chemicals, low in sulphur. It has incredibly powerful and expressive fruit, layers of flavour with velvet tannins.
What would you serve with this grenache?
This is a versatile wine and cries out for a spring celebration in the aussie sunshine: bbq lamb, chicken or mediteranaen vegetables. Perfect with morrocan tagine. Or for a special occasion, try with a rich chocolate dessert!
EUROPEAN WINE STORE
Jeremy at European Wine Store chose a Spanish Garnacha for International Grenache Day 2020:
Goes well with red peppers stuffed with tuna, braised lamb with prunes and pine nuts or chicken!
Pierre Stock speaks to us about Grenache for International Grenache Day 2020.
Which grenache do you recommend?
Pure Grenache growing on a block of schist in the Agly Valley, the terroir is perfect for Grenache, hot day and cool night refreshed by Pyreenee wind.
What would you eat with this grenache?
It is actually a light grenache, very pure and digest , so something like charcuterie or white meat
Margot from Le Plonque talks to us about her recommendation for International Grenache Day 2020.
Which grenache do you recommend?
Les Garrigues 2017 is a wine in the Côtes du Rhône villages appellation, it is composed of: 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Carignan. It is very common in the Rhône to combine these three grape varieties which marry perfectly. The combination of these three varieties gives us a wine that is balanced and incredibly fruity.
On tasting, one discovers the colourful and sustained robe which immediately makes you want to taste it. On the nose, you can appreciate the fruity scents (red fruit, black fruit, raspberry, redcurrant, blueberry and blackberry) as well as floral (violet). On the palate, we have a really generous wine, with melted, supple and harmonious tannins.
I recommend this wine because I simply love it. It is a wine that I drink personally.
It goes very well with grilled meats (perfect for the spring that is coming) but also with dishes with sauce or cheese platters.
It is best served between 16 and 18 degrees.
Louise Raisin at Single Vineyards recommends a Spanish grenache for International Grenache Day 2020.
2019 Campos de Luz Garnacha – translates to ‘field of light’ in Spanish.
This wine is deep red in colour and has scents of fresh blackberries and cherries, together with a hint of black pepper. Full and rich in the mouth, with the fruit immediately to the fore, a broad pallet and a long juicy finish which holds its presence without astringent tannins.
What would you serve with this Grenache?
BBQ seafood or vegetables. Would also go well with spicy dishes.
THE OTHER BORDEAUX
Tom from The Other Bordeaux says:
I love Grenache!
My Grenache recommendation of the moment is Domaine La Barroche “Liberty” 2017, which is a Grenache/Shiraz blend from the southern Rhône Valley made by – you guessed it! – Domaine Barroche which is one of the most famous names in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
This is a high octane wine of spice and power, full-bodied, with good tannin grip. Click here for the full tasting notes.
The classic food matching would be something like a casserole or Southern Rhône/provençale “daube”, or perhaps a fine cut of meat like steak, lamb, or venison. Boudin noir and roast potatoes would be good too. Then again, you could throw the rule book out the window and consume this with your favourite pizza for a complete no-brainer sensory overload! Santé!
Thomas from World Wine gives us his recommendation for International Grenache Day 2020.
I would recommend the Domaine Clarendon Old Vine Grenache 2016 as my favourite at the moment.
It blends lots of Clarendon, Hickinbotham and Kangarilla into a lovely mix of spice and fruit. Notes of cinnamon and cherries mingle easily on the nose and palate of this wine, which comes across as medium to full-bodied and gentle in style, not overly extracted or tannic and a beautifully smooth finish.
I would recommend serving it with some slow cooked lamb or brisket, or even a grilled salmon or tuna steak, as the higher alcohol content of this grenache pairs well with higher protein dishes.
Happy International Grenache Day 2020!
What’s your favourite Grenache? Do you drink it as a single varietal or in a blend?
If you like wine, you might be interested in our articles about other varietals: