Grenache is one of the most loved grape varieties in the revered Rhone Valley of France. What most people falsely assume, is that this blue / purple hued grape variety originated in Rhone. If you look at ampelographic evidence (meaning, trace its steps back to its roots), Grenache will lead you to the Kingdom of Aragon in medieval Spain, where it is commonly known as ‘Garnacha’. This has been countered by Sardinian botanists in Italy, claiming that this juicy grape variety was born in Sardinia. But historic as well as genetic evidence place the ball in Spain’s court.
Grenache used to be the most widely planted grape variety in Australia till the 1960s, when underdog grape varieties like Shiraz and Cab Sauv started gaining popularity and pushed Grenache to the backseat.
Now, almost 50 years later, Grenache has started to witness a comeback to its former glory. It is being cultivated extensively in various beloved Aussie wine regions such as McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek, Yarra Valley and Clare Valley. A highlight of this resurgence is that 50 to 150 year old grapevines are being used to craft stunning Grenache varietals and blends. The velvety tannins and mesmerizing scents of Grenache wines win over almost every wine enthusiast’s heart. The history behind the rise, fall and revival of Grenache gives it an intriguing and competitive edge over other wines.
This remarkable grape variety seems to have a bright future in Australia. It is being regarded as a ‘safety net’ to fall back on, in order to beat the increasing heat across various Australian wine regions.