By Lisa Rowlands

Thought to have originated in Northern Spain, the Grenache grape was once the world’s most planted dark skinned variety (a title now assumed by Cabernet Sauvignon). Largely underrated by consumers, it still ranks in the top ten most prevalent of all winemaking grapes and is capable of delivering powerful wines with a charming red fruit flavour profile and a hint of spice.

In the vineyard, Grenache buds early and ripens late, with the grapes reaching a high sugar content by the time they are ready for harvest. As such, Grenache based wines can often have alcohol levels up to 15%. The vine is generally well adapted to a range of different soil types, but does tend to be most successful in warm, dry, free draining soils such as those synonymous with its region of origin. Owing to its tightly bunched grapes, Grenache can also be susceptible to a number of viticultural diseases such as rot and mildew.

Often used as a component in blends, Grenache’s most famous outlet is perhaps the red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where the it is usually the dominant variety.