As you can tell by the hashtag in the title of this post, it’s time for another wine day celebration. This time Grenache has its day in the spotlight and this year’s #GrenacheDay celebration made me aware of just how often Grenache is in our glass. By looking back at the wines we have enjoyed over the summer I found no shortage of Grenache.
Grenache, Garnacha or Cannonau?
Call it what you will, the variety most likely originated in Spain. Although Italian researchers suggest Sardinia (where the grape is called Cannonau) as the true origin of the variety, the authors of Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz, suggest Spain as the origin. They base this opinion on the clonal diversity and multiple morphological mutations present in the variety in Spain, but not in Sardinia. The site of the greatest amount of diversity is thought to indicate a plant’s origin.
Spain and Sardinia, according to the authors, share a strong cultural link as evidenced by Sardinian settlements in the southern part of the Iberian peninsula in 800 B.C. and the Spanish colonization of Sardinia between 1479 and 1702. But, it is difficult to prove which way the exchange of grape varieties may have gone based on history, so the authors have relied on science to make that determination.
Where Garnacha Went from Spain
When Garnacha crossed over the border from northern Spain to southern France it became Grenache. The red variety is a component of wines throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon and of course the southern Rhône Valley of France. It is the G in GSM (along with Syrah and Mourvèdre) made in many locations and makes a delightful varietal wine as well. And don’t overlook a rosé of Grenache, it can be delicious too.
Grenache goes by many other names too, Wine-Searcher has a list of some of them, and in addition to Spain and France the variety is planted over significant acreage in Australia and the U.S.
Variations on a Grape
Multiple, naturally-occurring genetic mutations of the Grenache have resulted in grapes with variable berry color (Garnacha Blanca – aka Grenache Blanc is a white grape and Garnacha Roja – aka Grenache Gris has pink skins) and leaf morphology (Garnacha Peluda is a red Grenache with fuzzy leaves on the underside.) Genetic testing has confirmed all of these varieties show the same DNA profile.
Grenache In Our Glass and On Our Table
Without even planning a Grenache theme for our summer sipping we managed to enjoy Grenache on quite a few occasions over the past several months. We have enjoyed all of these wines sitting in the back yard, when the weather wasn’t too hot, and paired with our meals. All are wines we purchased after tasting them and are wines we would purchase again.
There is a delicate blush to this Grenache Blanc. Aromas of ripe melons and white flowers are followed by intense minerality, citrus zest and melon flavors supported by bright acidity and nice weight in the mouth. The flavors go on forever. Did I mention the delicate blush color? I’m sold. @fieldsfamwines #fieldsfamilywines #GrenacheBlanc #LodiWine #wine #winelover #winetasting #instawine #winesofinstagram #winetime #wineoclock
My August #LodiCalendarWine @bokischvineyards 2014 Garnacha Terra Alta Vineyard. A delicious warm-weather red with aromas and flavors of red fruit, peppery spice and smooth tannins in a relatively light body. Terra Alta Vineyard is located in Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA and is farmed organically. The wine carries the Lodi Rules Certified Green seal certifying sustainability. There is a lot to like about this lovely Garnacha, even in hot weather. Cheers! #wine #organic #LodiRules #lodiwine #winelover #winetasting #instawine #winesofinstagram #winetime #wineoclock #Garnacha #Grenache
Saignée of Grenache and Mourvédre + Roussanne and Grenache Blanc = Terre Rouge Vin Gris d’Amador and it’s delicious. Earthy, fruity, plenty of acid, dry. Just add a warm evening and a light meal. Cheers! @billeaston #wine #winelover #winetasting #instawine #winesofinstagram #winetime #wineoclock #rosé #roséallday #pinksociety #amadorwine #sierrafoothills #rhonezone
Happy #GrenacheDay and Cheers!