The Grenache grape is the most widely-planted in the world, and is mainly used to provide the backbones to red wine blends.
The wine produced is soft and velvety, with lovely sweet, ripe blackberry flavours.
Although the grape is used to make its own stand-alone wines, including both reds and roses, it is much more common for it to be used in Rhone Roses and most Southern Rhone wine blends, including red wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Cotes du Rhone.
Even though this grape is particularly famous for its involvement with French wines, it’s likely that it actually originated in Spain.
Grenache is widely-planted in the New World too, with Australian producers being very successful in the past with Grenache-dominated full-bodied red wine blends. The grape was the third most widely-planted in California behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, though it was overtaken by Merlot in the last decade.
The buds on the vines of this grape need a long growing season for full ripening, making this grape one of the last to be harvested in the season. This allows the sugars to get to very high levels and the wine produced reaches above average alcohol levels, sometimes higher than 15 per cent.
It can be difficult to find a wine that is unblended with other grapes, and it is advisable to look to regions in Northern Spain where they often use the grape to produce pink wines, and have done so for many years.
Regions such as Carinena, Calatayud and Campo de Borja are planted with plenty of old Grenache vines.
Grenache is delicious drank by itself, but works best as an accompaniment to food. The wines vary in their flavours and so a bold, complex wine that has been made from old, established grapes will go best with meaty dishes with big flavours and tastes. Softer, younger wines need to be paired accordingly.
Research the wine you are buying, good online vendors will usually describe which foods pair well with the wines they are selling.
That being said, there is a lot of wine snobbery around and so don’t let this dictate to you how you should drink your wine. You are consuming your drink for your own pleasure after all, and so go with whatever works best for you.
This applies to even the most fundamental ‘rules’ of wine and food pairing; red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat. If your preference is for visa versa - go for it!
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