Today, I would like to take a brief look at a grape that has been popular for hundreds of years in Europe, and getting more popular here in the U.S. We will look at Grenache.
Being grown in most parts of the wine-growing world, Grenache has long been a favorite wine of winemakers for blending. It produces low-acid, potentially high alcohol wines with a propensity towards raspberry, bing cherry, and plum flavors. It is extremely popular in Spain (where it often goes by the name Garnacha), and is often blended with Tempranillo. One source tells me that it is the most widely grown red grape in Spain, but I have been unable to verify that fact.
It also grows extremely well in Southern France- you see a lot of them coming out of the Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, and the Southern Rhone. In Chateauneuf du pape, it is the main grape in the blend, but can be mixed with up to 12 different grapes. The Rose's of Tavel are often predominately Grenache.
Besides California, you can find grenache grown in Algeria, Australia, Corsica, Israel, Morocca, and Sardinia (where it is called Cannonau).
You know something has a decent reputation in California, if the big guys start growing and cultivating it. In fact, these wines were even on the cover of the new Wine Speculator....I mean Spectator. If you can afford them (and if you can find them), there are amazing examples of grenache from Saxum, Alban, Sine Que Non, and Clarendon Hills.
I will give a report on this subject further, as I'm going to a grenache blind tasting on Saturday.