Definition - What does Grenache mean?

Grenache, also known as Garnacha is an indigenous wine grape variety from the Aragon Region of Northern Spain. Known for producing high yields and very sweet grapes, Grenache has mutated to create White Grenache, Grey Grenache and Black Grenache. The Grenache varieties are very hardy vines that tolerate drought and high winds, which makes them popular in Northern Spain, Southern France, Australia and California.

WineFrog explains Grenache

The Grenache variety produces grapes that are characterized by their sweetness, as the vine prefers a long dry and hot season. In seasons when the climate is cooler and there is more rainfall, the grapes will have less sugar, diluted flavors and the vines are more susceptible to disease. How drought-resistant the vine is depends on the type of rootstock that vine is grafted onto and the type of soil the vine is planted in. While the vine is adaptable to most soil types, the vine performs better when it experiences water stress in well drained rocky soils.

Young Grenache vines produce grapes with a thin skin and moderate to low tannins while older vines with smaller yields can produce grapes with more concentrated tannins and phenolic compounds. The thin skin of Grenache grapes and the lower quantities of tannins makes the grape more likely to oxidize during fermentation; winemakers avoid the oxidation and color loss by fermenting Grenache in a longer, cooler fermentation.

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