International Grenache Day 2022: Discover 11 facts about Grenache to celebrate!
To celebrate International Grenache Day 2022, we’re sharing 11 things you might not know about grenache as well as some recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.
- Grenache’s exact place of origin is hotly contested. Some say it originated in the South of France, others say as Cannonau in Sardegna. and other still as Garnacha or Garnatxa in Spain in the Aragon region.
- France has the world’s largest grenache plantings with 236,500 acres (95,700 ha) in 2004.
- In France, grenache is the second most planted grape variety after Merlot and ahead of Ugni blanc.
- The majority of French Grenache plantings are found in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. There, it is often blended with Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
- Grenache is an important part of the classic Rhone blend. In the Côtes du Rhône, Grenache must comprise at least 50% of the blend along with Syrah (Shiraz) and Mourvèdre (which is like the GSM blend we are more accustomed to in Australia).
- It’s not only used in red wine but also in some French rosé wine including those from Tavel and Lirac.
- Grenache noir is the black-skinned grenache grape we often think about but it has mutations: pale crimson-skinned grenache gris and green-skinned grenache blancwhich are both used in fortified vin doux naturels from Banyuls and Maury.
- In France, grenache blanc is the 4th most grown white wine grape variety after ugni blanc, chardonnay and Semillon.
- Grenache thrives in warm climates and improves as the vines age. That makes South Australia’s McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley perfect climates to grow grenache.
- Grenache takes longer to ripen than Cabernet Sauvignon and it is often harvested weeks after its red counterpart.
- Grenache is also known by a number of different names
International Grenache Day 2021 recommendations
We asked French wine importers in Australia to share with us their Grenache recommendations for International Grenache Day.
Daniel Airoldi from Airoldi Fine Wines shares his recommendations for International Grenache Day 2021.
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Which grenache do you recommend for a smaller budget for International Grenache Day 2021 and why?
Le Cassagne & Vitailles Combarels 2018 which is made from a blend of old Grenache with a little bit of Syrah. It’s a delicious, fruity and well-balanced wine.
What would you serve with it?
Lamb chops with ratatouille.
Which grenache do you recommend for a higher budget for International Grenache Day 2021 and why?
From the same estate but the superior cuvée, Le Cassagne & Vitailles ‘Clas Mani’ which contains Grenache planted during the inter-war period! An impressively complex wine!
What would you serve with it?
Sweetbreads with hazelnut butter and sage gnocchi
Amélie Chaboud and Nathalie Taquet from Bottli give us their recommendations for International Grenache Day 2021.
In France, grenache is mainly cultivated in the Rhône valley, Languedoc-Roussillon and in Provence. It is the source of great natural sweet wines and can be vinified alone or as the dominant varietal. In the latter case, it is often combined with Mourvèdre and Syrah for the production of dry red or rosé wines.
In the Southern Rhône valley, grenache dominates the Côtes-du-Rhône, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages and the vintages, Châteauneuf-du-Pape being one of the most-known appellations and perhaps the most qualitative.
The two rare pearls we have selected come from this region and are the result of organic farming, respectful of the environment!
Small budget grenache: GSM | Horse Flowers | Côtes du Rhône $50
This is a subtle Côtes du Rhône with a fruity character, intense aromas and a good length in the mouth. It is of course a blend built around Grenache (50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault). A very nice representation of its terroir: a wine that is simply “wow”!
Appearance: deep purple colour
Nose: aromas of violet and liquorice
Palate: notes of red fruits and spices, powerful and velvety
Appearance: Deep red colour
Big budget Grenache: Château de Manissy, Chateauneuf du Pape $126
It is a tiger ready to pounce: soft and elegant to look at, its power is almost palpable, but it walks on velvet paws. Then an explosion of black fruits: blackcurrant, blackberry, black cherry and hints of roasting, fully expressed in a beautiful and long finish. A truly great natural wine!
Appearance: Deep red colour.
Nose: Aromas of red fruits, aromas of undergrowth.
Palate: Spicy notes, soft tannins.
Food pairing: Red meat in sauce, Game, Beef bourguignon, Cheese
Pierre Stock gives us his recommendations for International Grenache Day 2021.
Which lower budget Grenache do you recommend for World Grenache Day and why?
2019 Domaine Des Genestas Caves d’Estezargues , it is mostly Grenache blended with a tiny bit of cinsault and mourvedre. Made by a CO-OP but each family treated as a domaine, organic , no fining, Impossible value for Quality.
What to serve with it? It is medium body style of wine with fresh fruits and soft tannins, Charcuterie, steak with no sauce , light red meat
Which higher-budget grenache do you recommend for International Grenache Day 2021?
2017 Bastide Saint Dominique Chateauneuf Du Pape, when it comes to Grenache , Chateauneuf Du pape is the most well known region in France where grows this amazing grape. This a wine coming from a super well known parcel called Pignan where the famous Chateau Rayas has its vines. This 100% Grenache matured in cement , yes NO WOOD in this cuvee, showed grenache to its best. Drink young , it is organic ,fresh yet with a medium body
What would you serve with it? Again here, I will serve it with red meat , saucy dishes , grilled veggies.
Margot from Le Plonque shares her International Grenache Day 2021 recommendations.
Which low budget grenache do you recommend for International Grenache Day 2021 and why?
Domaine Saint Bénezet Préférence rosé! A refreshing Syrah Grenache which is perfect for the beautiful days to come!
What would you serve with it? A cheese and charcuterie platter with fresh fruit in a picnic, or grilled meat and a mixed salad!
Which larger budget grenache do you recommend for International Grenache Day 2021 and why?
We have a red grenache wine, which is a little more expensive, Domaine des Trois Lys les Garrigues. It’s a Syrah, Grenache Carignan blend. We love this Côtes du Rhone which has body, intense ripe fruit aromas and silky tannins that make it very easy to drink, even when it’s a bit hot! It is not bitter or harsh as some reds can be.
What would you serve with it?
Red meats will go very well with it, as will soft cow’s milk cheeses.
Annie Gasparre from Single Vineyards shares her recommendations for International Grenache Day 2021.
Which grenache for a smaller budget would you recommend for International Grenache Day and why?
The 2016 Campos de Luz – Made from old-vine grenache (garnacha) fruit, from the Cariñena Denominación de Origen. The nose is floral with notes of fresh berries and ground black pepper. The palate begins with a rush of juicy fruit, followed by a full palate with very soft tannins. A wine which is very easy to drink alone or with food.
What would you serve with it?
Tapas, sizzle steak or BBQ meats.
Which grenache for a higher budget would you recommend for International Grenache Day and why?
The La Resistance Organic Rouge – The red is a classic GSM blend using the advantages of the Mistral wind in the Rhone Valley that helps to reduce risk of mildew – which is why they can rely on producing organic wine across such a large area. Produced in parcels across the southern Rhone valley (actually around Avignon to Mont Ventoux), where Grenache is the king of grapes (rather than Syrah in the north).
All wines are fermented in small stainless steel tanks. Soil type is chalky-clay-alluvial (Rhone river and Aygues river sedimentary). This is a distinct advantage for Grenache because the additional water retention of the vine roots in clay soil avoids severe drought – but allows enough hydric stress for sugar levels to optimise. The winery has found that this extra water retention and subsequent balancing of sugars/alcohol levels enables La Resistance to carry some welcome acidity in the wine.
The result is a wine that has all the blackberry spice of the blend as expected but equally a freshness in the palate. To put it tangibly, this is a much more quaffable wine because of the freshness, rather than with heavily extracted dark fruit. No oak at all.
What would you serve with it? Perfect served with a plate of assorted cooked meats, roast dishes and cheese.
What’s your favourite Grenache wine? As a single varietal or in a blend?