Also known as Garnacha in Spain and Cannonau in Sardinia, Grenache is well-suited to a variety of warm climates throughout the world -- from southern France to Australia and California. Grenache thrives in such conditions and is late-ripening, usually ripening a couple of weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon.
The grape is thought to have originated in Sardinia and was brought to Spain by subjects of the Crown of Aragon who controlled Sardinia. From Spain it then crossed the Pyrenees to southern France. Vigorous and versatile, Grenache can be used to make rosés, jug wines, fortified sweet wines, and complex dry reds depending on how and where it is grown.
Grenache is hardy, woody and wind-resistant, often growing as a bush vine. In the Priorat region of Spain and France’s Chaeauneuf-du-Pape, the poor soils and low yields produce concentrated, complex wines worthy of aging. These better examples may have notes of black currants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, roasted nuts and figs. The dry rosés of Lirac and Tavel with flavors of strawberries and cream are among the best in the world. Grenache can also be used to make port-like sweet dessert wines, especially in Australia.