Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Friday, September 21 2018

Top 10 : Grenache

By: Treve Ring
The heat-seeking missile of grapes in the spotlight for #GrenacheDay

Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grapes on the planet, explaining its many synonyms: garnacha, garnaxta, alicante, nieddu, cannonau, lladoner and uva di spagna among them.

This early budder / late ripener is a heat seeking missile, with sturdy wood, a penchant for dry, rocky soils, and upright growth pattern making it suitable for hot, arid climates, and able to withstand periods of drought. Thin-skinned and lighter fleshed, this sugar-building grape tends toward wines higher in alcohol and lighter in colour, often desirable traits in a blending partner, and why grenache isn't all that common solo. Often you’ll see it as a building block in a blend, as with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, or GSM. Red fruit are hallmarks, led by raspberry, strawberry and cherry, seasoned a characteristic white pepper, spice and dried herb savouriness, and tending towards a welcome leather and tar with age. Grenache’s versatility also makes it a feature player in rosé (Tavel, Navarra are prime examples) as well as the prized vins doux naturels of Roussillon, such as Banyuls.

I don't usually pay attention to these things, but Sepember 21 is claimed as International #GrenacheDay, when I understand that "Grenachistas" around the world geek out on grenache. It certainly is the case for me this year, my last afternoon in South Africa, and attending a tasting of international grenache held in the Swartland before commencing my lengthy journey home. The photo above was taken by Samantha Suddons, of Smiley, Silwervis, and Terracura wines, and shows a small fraction of the international grenache we enjoyed.

While wines tasted this trip to SAF are still to be entered, here are a few of our favourite grenache and blends tasted at GOW over the past few months. 


Written By: TR
Treve Ring
Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a writer, editor, judge, consultant, educator and certified sommelier based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. After completing her Art History degree with Distinction from the University of Victoria and being exposed to the world of wine business at Christie's in London, England, she switched gears, leaving the realm of art for the world of wine.