Varietal Article


Last edited on 7/15/2014 by Steven Williams
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Wikipedia: In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha and given the likely history of the grape this is most likely the grape's original name. There are several clonal varieties of Garnacha with the thin-skinned, dark colored Garnacha Tinta (sometimes spelled Tinto) being the most common. Another variety, known as Garnacha Peluda or "Hairy Grenache" due to the soft softly hairy texture on the underside of the vine's leaves is also found in Spain, mostly in Borja and Cariñena (Aragón). Compared to its more widely planted cousin, it produces wines lower in alcohol and higher in acidity that show spicy and savory notes more readily as they age.[11] Widely planted in northeastern and central Spain, Garnacha was long considered a "workhorse" grape of low quality suitable for blending. In the late 20th century, the success of the Garnacha based wines from Priorat in Catalonia (as well as the emerging international attention given to the New World Rhone Rangers) sparked a re-evaluation of this "workhorse" variety. Today it is the third most widely planted red grape variety in Spain (behind Tempranillo and Bobal) with more than 203,300 acres (82,300 ha) and is seen in both varietal wines and blends.[3]

Garnacha plays a major role in the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOQ) wines of Rioja and Priorat and the Denominación de Origen (DO) wines of Navarra and all southern Aragonese and southern Catalonian appellations, plus the mountainous areas just southwest of Madrid: Méntrida and Cebreros. In Rioja the grape is planted mostly in the warmer Rioja Baja region located in the eastern expanse of the wine region. Usually blended with Tempranillo, Garnacha provides juicy fruitiness and added body. In recent years, modern Rioja producers have been increasing the amount of Garnacha used in the blend in order to produce earlier maturing and more approachable Riojas in their youth. Garnacha is also used in the pale colored rosados of Rioja.[3] The vine has a long history in the Navarra region where it has been the dominant red grape variety with nearly 54% of the region's vineyard planted with Garnacha. Compared to neighboring Rioja, the Garnacha-based blends of Navarra are lighter and fruitier, meant for earlier consumption.[5]