The Grenache grape holds the honor of being the most widely planted wine grape varietal on earth. It has a long and impressive history, and has been the backbone of the some of the planet’s most respected and famed wine regions, blended with Syrah in regions such as Chateauneuf du Pape, and in certain other Loire and Languedoc regions where it reigns supreme as a single varietal wine grape. In other key areas, such as Spain’s La Rioja (where it is known as Garnacha Tinta), it is blended with Tempranillo to make that country’s signature red wine, and is widely used as a blending grape in other old and new world countries, due to its unique character and jammy, fruit forward character.
For a long time, the Grenache grape was somewhat looked down upon as an ignoble varietal, incapable of producing wines of any particular interest. However, times are very much changing - in the right hands, Grenache grapes result in astonishingly intense and complex wines, full of fascinating features, and capable of achieving plenty of expression. For a while now, Grenache has been a major player in Australian wines. While not yet quite as extensively planted down under as Shiraz is, the Barossa Valley is bringing out some of the finest examples of this grape’s wines in recent years.