In many ways, Grenache is the hot weather cousin of Pinot Noir, with its thin skins and need for low yields. It is a late ripener and therefore requires a long growing season, which leads to sweet grapes and therefore high alcohol wines. The yields ought to be kept low in order to produce quality vino. It tends to prefer hot, dry climates with cool nights, and rocky well drained soil like schist and granite
Grenache is also Pinot Noir like in the winery. It needs a lot of attention and is prone to oxidation (a gnarly flaw which leads to vinegary wines). The fermentation and maceration ought to be long, slow and cool. Although Grenache can fly solo, it is often blended with Syrah and Mourvèdre. The way in which it differs from Pinot Noir is in its capacity to make exquisite fortified and dessert wines, as in the Port style wines of Australia and the Vins Doux Naturels of France's Languedoc-Roussillon.
Places it is Happiest
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Spain: Grenache often flies solo here, but can still be used as part of a blend in some less known appelations.
Italy: Don't go looking for Grenache on any Italian wine label. It is better known as Cannonau, where it thrives on the hot, maritime climates of Sardinia and Sicily.
Australia: Frequently blended with Australian Shiraz and Mourvèdre but also stellar on it's own in certain regions. It was actually introduced to the reigon in the 19th century and there are still places where vines are more than 100 years old. Current regions where it rocks and our fave producers:
Grenache is also a dominant grape in the production of Australia's Port style fortified wines.
California: Grenache is a force to be reckoned with in California's Central Coast region thanks to a group of iconoclastic wine makers known as the Rhone Rangers. In the 1980s a number of varieties native to the Rhone were dying out in the region, so
Color: Low in pigment, ruby with hints of salmon or orange
Aroma: Strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry, cranberry, black pepper, stewed fruits
Body: Medium to full
Acidity: Low to medium
Flavors: Blackberry, stewed prunes, cherry, raspberry, black plum, violet, licorice, black pepper, smoky, gamey, earthy, funky, spicy