Destination: Grenache

The best places to visit when exploring Grenache grapes


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Destination: Grenache When I think of getting up and going somewhere to experience Grenache, France jumps to mind first. Where else but along that arc of La Belle France that shelters Provence from the harsher elements of the Mediterranean would one want to go? We’re talking about Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel and Gigondas, all admittedly somewhat inland but forming part of the sunny South of France where Grenache thrives.

Of course not all is Grenache in these parts. Many of the best wines happen to be blends often based on Grenache, sometimes with just a particularly large component, yet always benefiting from the bold red fruit and unique aromatics that mark the best of these wines. We should not punish for blending other varieties in with Grenache, it’s not Grenache’s fault that these regions are ideal to a broad range of grapes. In fact, that is one of the great coincidences of the wine world.

It can be tough to make a great wine solely from Grenache. While the grape does produce some wonderfully fruity and aromatic wines, it sometimes lacks a little depth and structure. I often find Grenache to be a little like a giant fruity balloon in the mouth. There’s just not a lot of middle to many of these wines and little holding everything together. That’s nothing a bit of Carignan, Cinsault, or Syrah can’t fix, so this region rejoices in blending grapes, a rarity in Europe where mono-varietal wines tend to rule.

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