New Wine This Week 58 – Grenache, the Silent Assassin

58 - silent assassin

Amongst all the famous “international” grape varieties, I reckon Grenache is one of the least talked about. Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon. We’ve all heard of them. Grenache is that grape that they dabble with in Spain and the South of France a bit, right?

One of the reasons Grenache isn’t as well travelled as everything else is that it needs serious heat to ripen properly. In the plains of Spain, the sun drenched South of France, and the scorched turf of areas of Australia, it gets that sun in spades, and hits it’s potential. You couldn’t get away with growing it in Germany, or New Zealand for example.

It also doesn’t always feel that much of an all rounder. It does two things really well. Firstly: the red fruit. Strawberries, redcurrants, and raspberries will be bouncing out of the glass at you from a well-ripened Grenache.

The other thing is why it’s a bit of a silent assassin. The alcohol level. You don’t get many Grenache blends much south of 14%, and usually a lot higher than that. Those sugars the sun heats into the grapes turn readily into alcohol. You’ll be feeling it at the end of the night if you’re not careful.

In the South of the Rhône, where Grenache ripens great, and they blend it with Syrah, Mouvedre, and others to add colour., tannins, and acidity, it forms the integral part of some serious red wine blends.

As we’re about to find out!




10 thoughts on “New Wine This Week 58 – Grenache, the Silent Assassin”

  1. I absolutely love Grenache when I can find one. It’s not away easy to come across in Texas… If the grapes really need that heat to reach it’s full potential I wonder how this variety would fair in the Texas Hill Country?

  2. I have had remarkably little grenache. I had actually written the grape off a little because so many Aussie examples are huge overripe, high alcohol fruit bombs but there is some absolutely exquisite stuff coming through now that we are letting the Robert Parker effect subside 🙂

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