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5 Fun Facts About…Grenache

September 19th, 2012

Grenache (pronounced gren-aash) is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world!  Primarily featured in Rhone-style blends, it’s a star in the famous trio of GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre.)  The reason why Grenache is so valued in wine blends is because it brings body and fruitiness without the added tannins.

Grenache grapes

The characteristic notes of Grenache are berry fruit such as raspberries and strawberries.  Grenache-based wines can develop complex and intense notes flavors including  black currants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices, and roasted nuts.

 

 

Here are five fabulous facts about this blending master! 

Facts courtesy of Wikipedia.
    1. France and Spain are Grenache's largest principal wine regions, followed by Australia and the United States.
    2. Rosé grenaches are often characterized by their strawberry and cream notes, like this South Coast Winery award-winner; $14.
    3. Grenache vines bud early and require a long growing season in order to fully ripen. This grape is often one of the last to be harvested, often ripening weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon.  It thrives in warm, dry conditions - like Temecula Valley!
    4. The long ripening process = high levels of sugar, which means Grenache-based wines are capable of substantial alcohol levels, often at least 15%.
    5. Grenache blanc is the light-skinned cousin to Grenache - and a very important white grape variety in France, planted fourth after Chardonnay, Semillion, and Ugni blanc.

 

Interested in tasting Grenache in action?  Check these Temecula Valley wineries off your list for fall - and order your holiday wines early.  Grenache is a classic light red that pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey.

 

"In the chorus of Rhone varieties, Grenache rarely gets to perform solo... The grape often appeals to winegrowers because of it’s workhorse-like productivity in early years of the life of the vine.  But it may appeal to consumers, particularly as the vine ages, because of wines light in tannin that can have a faint sweetness and high degree of alcohol. Even though the day of our tasting was still warm, it strikes me now as an excellent transitional red as the weather has cooled." - Dr. Vino.com

Grenache vineyards in Temecula Valley.
Photo courtesy of Who, What, Where, Wine.

 

 

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