Garnacha/Grenache – whether red, white, rosé or fortified – presents several advantages and challenges. While it is not a difficult grape to grow, Garnacha/Grenache is highly sensitive to variations in terroir and requires specific conditions and care to produce its best wines. In some places – such as Chateauneuf du Pape – the varietal has historically been blended with other grapes so it can add its ripe, aromatic and fruity aromas to other grapes with more tannins or color. Finding the perfect balance is a real art that European winemakers have succeeded in mastering.
“For me, Grenache has been a bit like the proverbial girl next door. Has taken yearsto work out how beautiful she is.”
Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards
Producing a good single varietal Garnacha/Grenache wine isn’t less of a challenge and you have to be careful and follow some specific rules! Winemakers in areas like the Protected Designations of Origin of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano, Terra Alta and Roussillon manage to produce excellent single varietals combining traditional and modern techniques:
Garnacha/Grenache feels most at home in hot, windy and dry climates, similar to the area where it originated.
It is key to keep yields down to improve concentration with low or no irrigation at all. There is even evidence that Garnacha/Grenache benefits from a mild degree of water stress.
They reduce the yield and increase concentration.
While Garnacha/Grenache can produce excellent wines on a variety of soils – there are very good wines made from Garnacha/Grenache on schist, granite and limestone – poorer soils give the best results. But no matter the mineral composition, it is critical that the soils be warm and with excellent drainage so that the roots will dig deep.
Fermentation at a low temperature
It is essential for preserving freshness. For most red wines, maceration takes place before or during the early stages of fermentation in order to impart color and tannin, but is stopped before the wines can become too tannic. New oak barrels can help as well, but must be used moderately in order not to mask the sweet and fruity character of Garnacha/Grenache. White Garnacha/Grenache also needs to be fermented at low temperatures if the wine is to retain its freshness and minerality.
“Who dared to bet on Garnacha 25 years ago? Nobody did… Happily enough, nowadays, Garnacha is being rediscovered… Fortunately, [the area where Garnacha originated]… has shaken off the tag of rough, tannic wines displaying proudly the grape’s name on some labels.”
“Grenache is fascinating in its ability to adapt to where and how it’s grown, and to really reflect a sense of place. It’s often used to enhance top blends, like in Chateauneuf du Pape, and it is the basis for most rose’, YET is capable on its own of producing great wines that age beautifully. It’s developing a real cult-following.”
By entering this site, I certify that I am of legal drinking age in my country of residence.
The content of this website represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission and the Research Executive Agency (REA) do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Purposes: Collected exclusively to the extent necessary to fulfil a specific purpose you request from us and not to be re-used for an incompatible purpose.
Data retention: Only for the time necessary to fulfil the purpose of collection or further processing.
Disclosure: Only to third parties if necessary for the fulfilment of the purpose(s) identified above and to the
mentioned (categories of) recipients.
Rights: To request details, access to, correct inaccuracies, object to, erase and/or restrict the processing and portability of the information collected.
Additional information: More information or request at https://garnachagrenache.com/legal-notice/