If Spanish red wines were actresses, Tempranillo could be considered the crowd-pleasing leading lady, while Garnacha gets the supporting roles. But Garnacha, one of the world’s most widely planted red wine grapes (it’s known as Grenache in France), is getting more respect these days, both in Spain and around the world.
Born in Aragón, Spain, Garnacha is a winemaker’s dream when it comes to blends. You’ll often see it blended with Tempranillo in Spain and with Syrah and Mourvèdre in France and California for the classic blend known in wine-geek speak as GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre). Because the grape is chock-full of sugar, Garnacha packs a high-alcohol wallop. And since Garnacha is a heat-seeking sun lover, you’ll get lots of juicy, vibrant fruit flavors.
Wine lovers who hate to wait will be delighted to know that this wine is best enjoyed young. A few Garnachas made from older vines in the Priorat region will age gracefully in the bottle for up to 10 years, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for those. A typical Spanish Garnacha, however, is delightfully easy on the wallet.
Keep in mind that Garnacha goes by a few other names, including Tinto Aragonés, Garnacha Tinta, and Garnacho Tinto. And like any good actress, Garnacha is versatile. It can add backbone when blended with lighter-bodied wines and oak-aged, and it produces award-winning rosés, or rosados.
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