VINcabulary : Grenache

grenache-3VINcabulary : Grenache

{gren-AASHE / gren-ash}

Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes planted on the globe, which would explain the vast variety of synonyms – Garnacha, Alicante, Nieddu, Cannonau, Lladoner and Uva di Spagna among them. This early budder / late ripener is a heat seeking missile. Its sturdy wood, penchant for dry, rocky soils and upright growth pattern makes it suitable for hot, arid climates and able to withstand periods of drought. The thin skinned, light flesh, sweet grape tends to make wines higher in alcohol and lighter in colour, often desirable traits in a blending partner. Pure varietal Grenache aren’t all that common; most often you’ll see it blended, as with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for example, or GSM blends from South Australia. Red fruit notes are hallmarks – raspberry, strawberry and cherry, with a characteristic white pepper, spice and dried herb savouriness and a move towards leather and tar with age. Grenache’s versatility also makes it a feature player in rosés (Tavel, Navarra) and fortified vins doux naturels of Roussillon such as Banyuls.



Les Églantiers Tavel Rosé 2012
Tavel AC, Southern Rhone, France
$23-26  13.5%
Summer sweet wild strawberries, bright citrus, garrigue and fine grained spice on this bone dry rose from the S. Rhone, boned up with 10% Sryah.




Castillo de Monséran
Old Vine Garnacha 2008
Cariñena DO, Spain
$15-18  13%
50 year old vines baking in the blasting Cariñena sun have given up dusty cherry, herbal tomato, earthy bramble notes and a fresh juicy tartness.




Stag’s Hollow
Grenache 2012
Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, BC
*$30-35  14.5%
Canada’s first commercial Grenache has paved the way for many more. Warm cedar spice, ripe red cherry, cranberry, strawberry jam and a huge whack of savoury and peppery spice on the bright finish. Exciting and impressive.




Bush Vine Grenache 2011
Barossa, South Australia, Australia
$25-28  14%
Big cracked spice here, with cinnamon and black pepper from start to finish, overtop of perfumed black floral, deep damson plum and a satisfying, fresh palate.




Argiolas Costera
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC 2010
Sardinia, Italy
$25-28  14%
90% Cannonau is assisted by 5% each Bovale Sardo and Carignano, adding local intrigue to this savoury and focused Sardinian red. Herbed anise, pencil lead, black currant, ash and peppery spice.




M. Chapoutier
Banyuls Vins Doux Naturel 2010
Banyuls, Roussillon, France
*$26-30 for 500ml  16%
Ripe and heady raspberry and blackberry jam, lightly caramelized brown sugar, pink flowers, white pepper and an orange peel finish. Solid concentration plus freshness on this dessert wine.


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*Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores. All other wines are available through BC Liquor Stores.

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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