This grape variety is a true people pleaser. Long known by the French name Grenache as a mass producer with moderate quality, red wines made from the Spanish variety of this grape have been enjoying increasing popularity in recent years. Grenache is the second most widely grown grape variety in Spain and the fourth most widely grown worldwide.
In fact, you have probably already drunk more Grenache wine than you realize. This grape variety is often an ingredient in the most famous wine in Spain, Rioja. L’Ermita, one of the highest quality products in the country, also often contains Garnacha and many other cuvées. It is only in recent years that a trend has developed in Spain towards the production of pure Grenache wines. The Grenache grape produces strong, robust wines and is grown mainly in the regions of Aragón, Navarra, Priorat, and La Mancha in Spain. In Catalonia, it is known as Garnatxa. In southern Spain, on the other hand, the grape is hardly present.
Another reason for the relative obscurity of the Garnacha grape is the variety of synonyms under which the grape is known in different regions. In France, grapes known as Grenache are used, among other things, in the renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Costières de Nimes. They are mainly grown in the Rhône Valley in the regions of Drome and Vaucluse. What is Tempranillo in Spain is Syrah in France. The tannin-rich grape varieties are blended with the less tannin-rich Grenache and processed into Rioja or other cuvées.
Cannonau: From Sardinia to the World
In Italy, the Garnacha grape is particularly prominent on the island of Sardinia. Here the wine is known as Cannonau di Sardegna. Although experts have long thought that the grape comes from the Spanish region of Aragón, many Sardinians firmly claim that the grape originated on their island. In 2004, a study showed that they are actually right. The grape has been grown here since the Bronze Age and was only later brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Spaniards. While wines in Spain and France are often processed with tannin-rich varieties such as Tempranillo or Shiraz, Cannonau cuvées are less common.
Grenache varieties can also be found in other regions of Italy. In Tuscany, the grape is known as Alicante, on the island of Ischia as Guarnaccia, and Cannonau is also grown on Sicily.
Whether in Italy, France, or Spain, there is both a red and a white variety of the grape. Therefore, the wines often bear the addition Noir, Tinto or Nero for red wines, or Blanc, Blanco or Bianco for white wines. Experts recommend 2-6 year old wines of this grape, which ideally were made from grapes from the oldest possible vineyards. In addition to the European Mediterranean region, wine made from Grenache grapes is also grown and produced in Australia, Chile, Argentina, the USA, South Africa, and Israel.
The lack of tannins and the reputation as a mass producer that is only suitable for blending have long kept the benefits of the Grenache grape out of the sight – and taste – of the world. But perhaps the growing popularity of pure Grenache wines is precisely due to the lack of tannins. This makes it more tolerable for unskilled palates, but without being flat and boring. Even the wine connoisseurs among your guests will be satisfied and have a good time. Wine made from Grenache has a complex, fruity and soft taste, which is only found in heavier wines.
The perfect dinner guest
Its high compatibility makes red wine from Garnacha the perfect companion for dinner parties. Although it goes best with beef, game and all other hearty dishes, it can be combined with a wide range of dishes and is appreciated by wine lovers as well as guests who normally opt for a beer. If you serve light dishes such as fish or poultry, you can simply opt for white wine from Garnacha.
Due to their versatility, wines made from Garnacha grapes are also excellent for events with catering, whether private or professional. It is therefore not surprising that the Metro Wine of the Year 2018 – La Sastrería – is made from Garnacha grapes. However, do not be deceived by the soft and fruity taste, as Garnacha wines contain an above-average amount of alcohol with at least 12.5% – a generous wine-performance ratio.
Garnacha wines are suitable for almost any occasion and have the advantages of a strong wine without the negative side effects that a high level of tannins can bring. They are also not hard to find in Germany if you remember the most important synonyms. They also extend life and are not excessively expensive. What more could you want?
Our top 3 recommendations:
The wine mentioned above, created for METRO, is made of 100% Garnacha grapes and comes from the Spanish wine-growing region of Cariñena. The Cariñena grape is also based here, which requires the same conditions of stony soils and sun as the Garnacha grape. The vineyards and vines are old, which contributes to the quality of the wine. In the La Sastrería series, there is a red wine, white wine, and rosé wine. The dry wines are fruity and the modern floral design also makes the bottles eye-catching.
Lumos No.1 Garnacha 2017
This dry wine from Cariñena is also made from 40-year-old vines. The Lumos project also has an interesting color scale on the label, which describes the characteristics of the wine in detail. The wine itself is relatively mild and dry, but still full, fruity, and intense.
Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna DOC 2017
The Garnacha original from the Italian Mediterranean island, more specifically from the northwest corner, where the Sella & Mosca winery is located, is also a unique pleasure with a complex, berry-like aroma and an extra portion of antioxidants.