A very versatile variety.
In Australia Grenache has been widely planted, largely due to an early heritage of fortified wine production. In fact, by 1956 it was the most planted red variety in the country. It's been the foundation vine of regions such as the Barossa Valley, where it gradually lost favour to Shiraz. The soft tannins and plush, juicy palate of Grenache make it a pairing favourite for spicy food, as well as richer fare like stewed meats and mushroom risotto. At the opposite extreme, the best known and probably the oldest Rose in the world is that made at Tavel in southern France in which Grenache predominates. In Spain, where it's known as "Garnacha", there are huge plantings. Here it's often employed in the wines of Rioja, playing second fiddle to Tempranillo, as well as more intense varietal expressions from the slopes of Priorat.
Who makes the world's best Grenache?
The best Australian Grenache comes from older vines growing in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Spain offers a more recent star, Priorat, while the greatest examples from Southern France's Rhone Valley take the varietal to another level. Here Grenache remains the basis for beautifully balanced, frequently exuberant reds with a strong Mediterranean influence. Look out for examples from Chateau Beaucastel, Domaine du Pegau and Tardieu Laurent to name a few.
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