Grenache Red Wine Variety in Australia

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While Grenache has a long history in Australia, it is only over the past decade or so that the variety has received the recognition that it deserves. While it is regarded as a classic variety by many writers I believe it is an 'alternative varietal' in Australia, not least because few wine drinkers know much about it, especially in states other than South Australia.

This grape variety is widely planted in South Australia, particularly in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions.

This page recently updated to include new wineries listed in
James Halliday's Wine Companion 2014

It is a versatile variety which can be used as a straight varietal wine, it makes very good rose and is used as blending material, particularly with Shiraz and Mourvedre. In fact these so called GSM blends are becoming a signature Barossa/McLaren Vale style, challenging the dominance of straight Shiraz.

There is some contention among wine writers as to whether this variety should be regarded as French, or as a Spanish variety. In Spain it is known as Garnacha, and is grown extensively throughout the North and East of the country.

Other synonyms include Granaccia, Lladoner, Tinto, Tinta, Carignan rosso, Carignane rousse, Tinto arogonese, Uva di Spagna, Sans Pariel, Tinto Menudo, Tinta Mencida, Tintilo de Rota, Rousillon, Rousillon Tinto Rouvaillard, Cannonau, Alicante, Rivesaltes, Redondal (and probably lots more...)

In France this variety is grown in the Southern Rhone region as well as in Languedoc-Roussillon. In the Rhone it is a key ingredient of the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. In fact Grenache is a principal variety in all of the major Appellations in the Southern Rhone. Grenache is also the major variety in Tavel Rose. It plays no part in the Northern Rhone where the only red grape variety is Shiraz (Syrah).

Other major Grenache plantings are in Italy and California

Grenache in Australia

Grenache is grown in many regions throughout Australia but the variety is concentrated in just a few.
Regions in Australia Growing Grenache The ability of this variety to produce high yields when given plenty of irrigation in warm climates made it the most popular Australian variety until the 1960s. It was the basis of the so called port wines, as well as a component of many dry red wines, then called claret. But only rarely did the word Grenache appear on a wine label. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon replaced Grenache in the vineyards and the variety seemed destined for obscurity in Australia. In the 1980s, when the Australian wine industry was concerned about overproduction of red wine, this variety was subject of a vine-pull scheme.

Fortunately a few growers and winemakers recognised the virtues of Grenache and it now is nudging along nicely in the wine fashion stakes. In fact it is now among the most popular alternative variety being planted by newcomers to the wine industry. A few remaining paddocks of old vines have suddenly been elevated to the status of viticultural gold mines. The passion and perseverance of the Grenache producers have been harvested by the marketers and the future of the variety seems assured.

The Taste of Grenache

...gamey, strawberries, raspberries, peppery, spicy...

...these are some of the adjectives used to describe Grenache on De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table.

The wines reflect the conditions under which the grapes were grown. When grown under tough conditions or from old vines varietal Grenache wines can be rich and complex, with flavours of roasted nuts, blackberries spices and above all earthiness. By contrast young Grenache vines can produce wines redolent of raspberries and strawberries. In blends I have often detected just a hint of crushed ants in the nose.

As young wines Grenaches are firm and sometimes rough textured. I suspect that getting the tannin balance right is a major factor in making a good Grenache. The colour often does not adequately prepare you for the depth of flavour.

Grenache Wines in Australia

I may have missed some. If you know of any that are missing perhaps you can add a comment below.
| | A Retief Southern New South Wales Zone | Adelina Wines Clare Valley | Altamont Wine Studio Adelaide hills | Amadio Adelaide Hills | Amarillo Wines Peel | Ambrook Wines Swan Valley | Andrew Peace Wines Swan Hill | Angelicus Geographe | Angoves Winery Riverland | Arakoon McLaren Vale | Arimia Margaret River Margaret River | Artwine Clare Valley | Atze's Corner Wines Barossa Valley | Australian Domaine Wines Clare Valley | B3 Wines Barossa Valley | Ballast Stone Estate Currency Creek | Balthazar Barossa Valley | Barossa Valley Estate Barossa Valley | Barristers Block Adelaide Hills | Basedow Barossa Valley | Bell River Estate Central Ranges Zone | Bella Ridge Estate Swan District | Beltana Springs Perth Hills | Bent Creek Vineyards McLaren Vale | Bethany Barossa Valley | Blackbilly McLaren Vale | Blown Away McLaren Vale | Blue Rock Eden Valley | Boireann Granite Belt | Brash Higgins McLaren Vale | Briery Estate Perth Hills | Brini Estate McLaren Vale | Broken River Vineyards Goulburn Valley | Brookhampton Estate Geographe | Bullers Beverford Swan Hill | Bullock Track Wines Adelaide Hills | Burge Family Winemakers Barossa Valley | Byramgou Park Geographe | Callipari Wine Murray Darling | Canonbah Bridge Western Plains | Cape Barren Wines McLaren Vale | Cape Bouvard Peel | Cape Mentelle Margaret River | Captain Barossa Barossa Valley | Carilley Estate Swan Valley | Carpenteri Vineyards Swan Hill | Cascabel McLaren Vale | Chain of Ponds Adelaide Hills | Chaperon Wines Bendigo | Charles Melton Barossa Valley | Chittering Valley Winery Perth Hills | Churchview Estate Margaret River | Cirillo Barossa Valley | Clancy Fuller Barossa Valley | Clarence Hill McLaren Vale | Clarendon Hills McLaren Vale | Classic McLaren Wines McLaren Vale | Claymore Wines Clare Valley | Clonakilla Canberra | Cobbitty Wines South Coast Zone | Colonial Estate Barossa Valley | Conte Estate Wines McLaren Vale | Contessa Estate McLaren Vale | Coriole McLaren Vale | Cradle of Hills McLaren Vale | Craneford Barossa Valley | Currans Family Wines Murray Darling | Currency Creek Currency Creek | D'Arenberg McLaren Vale | Darlington Estate Perth Hills | De Lisio Wines McLaren Vale | Deisen Barossa Valley | Di Fabio Estate McLaren Vale | Diggers Bluff Barossa Valley | Diloreto Wines Adelaide Plains | Doctors Nose Wines New England | DogRidge McLaren Vale | Dogrock Winery Pyrenees | Domain Barossa Barossa Valley | Dominic Versace Wines Adelaide Plains | Donnybrook Estate Geographe | Drakesbrook Wines Peel | Echelon McLaren Vale | Eden Road Wines Canberra | Eperosa Barossa Valley | Eyre Creek Clare Valley | Faranda Wines Swan District | Fireblock Clare Valley | Five Geese Hillgrove Wines McLaren Vale | Flat View Vineyard Clare Valley | Foggo Wines McLaren Vale | Fonthill Wine McLaren Vale | Fox Creek Wines McLaren Vale | Franand Wines Swan District | Galli Estate Sunbury | Gapsted Alpine Valleys | Gawler River Grove Adelaide Plains | Geddes Wines McLaren Vale | Gemtree Vineyards McLaren Vale | Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale | Gibson Barossavale Barossa Valley | Gilligan McLaren Vale | Gin Gin Wines Queensland Coastal | Glaetzer Wines Barossa Valley | Glaymond Wines Barossa Valley | Gnadenfrei Estate Barossa Valley | Golden Ball Beechworth | Gomersal Wines Barossa Valley | Gomersal Wines Barossa Valley | Grancari Estate McLaren Vale | Grant Burge Barossa Valley | Halina Brook Central Western Australian Zone | Hamiltons Ewell Vineyards Barossa Valley | Hanging Rock Winery Macedon Ranges | Harman's Ridge Estate Margaret River | Haselgrove McLaren Vale | Hawkers Gate McLaren Vale | Head in the Clouds McLaren Vale | Heathcote Estate Heathcote | Hemera Estate Barossa Valley | Henry Holmes Wines Barossa Valley | Henschke Eden Valley | Hently Farm Wines Barossa Valley | Hewitson Barossa Valley | Hickinbotham Mornington Peninsula | Hobbs of Barossa Ranges Barossa Valley | Hutton Vale Eden Valley | Izway Wines Barossa Valley | Jamabro Wines Barossa Valley | Jasper Hill Heathcote | Jeanneret Wines Clare Valley | Jenke Vineyards Barossa Valley | Jimbour Wines Queensland Zone | John Duval Wines Barossa Valley | Jupiter Creek Winery Adelaide Hills | Kabminye Wines Barossa Valley | Kaesler Barossa Valley | Kalleske Wines Barossa Valley | Kangarilla Road McLaren Vale | Kay Bros Amery McLaren Vale | Kellermeister Wines Barossa Valley | Kilikanoon Clare Valley | Kirrihill Estates Clare Valley | Kitty Crawford Estate New England | Kladis Estate Shoalhaven Coast | Koltz McLaren Vale | Kurtz Family Vineyards Barossa Valley | Kyotmunga Estate Perth Hills | La Curio McLaren Vale | Lake Breeze Langhorne Creek | Lambert Estate Barossa Valley | Landhaus Estate Barossa Valley | Langmeil Barossa Valley | Lanz Vineyards Barossa Valley | Lanzthomson Wines Barossa Valley | Larry Cherubino Margaret River | Laughing Jack Barossa Valley | Linda Domas Wines McLaren Vale | Linfield Road Wines Barossa Valley | Little Bridge Canberra | Lou Miranda Estate Barossa Valley | Macaw Creek Wine Mount Lofty Ranges Zone | Magpie Estate Barossa Valley | Mansfield Wines Mudgee | Marienberg McLaren Vale | Marybrook Vineyards & Winery Margaret River | mas serrat Yarra Valley | Massena Wines Barossa Valley | Massey Wines McLaren Vale | Maverick Wines Barossa Valley | Mawson Ridge Adelaide Hills | Maximus Wines McLaren vale | Maxwell Wines McLaren Vale | McHenry Hohnen Margaret River | McLaren Ridge Estate McLaren Vale | McLaren Wines McLaren Vale | McLean's Farm Eden Valley | McWilliams Riverina | Middlebrook Estate McLaren Vale | Mitchell Clare Valley | Mitchelton Nagambie Lakes | Moss Brothers Margaret River | Mount Appallan Vineyards South Burnett | Mount Trafford Southern Fleurieu | Mt Billy Southern Fleurieu | Murdock Barossa Valley | Murray Street Vineyard Barossa Valley | Muster Wine Company Barossa Valley | Naked Run Wines Clare Valley | Neagles Rock Vineyards Clare Valley | Noon Winery McLaren Vale | Normanby Wines Queensland Zone | Ochota Barrels Adelaide Hills | Old Plains Adelaide Plains | Old Station Clare Valley | Olive Farm Swan District | Oliverhill McLaren Vale | Olivers Taranga McLaren Vale | Organic Vignerons Australia Riverland | Orlando Barossa Valley | Oxenbury Estate McLaren Vale | Parkerville Ponds Vineyard Perth Hills | Parri Estate Southern Fleurieu | Paul Conti Wines Greater Perth Zone | Paul Nelson Wines Mount Barker | Paxton McLaren Vale | Pende Valde McLaren Vale | Penny's Hill McLaren Vale | Pepperilly Estate Wines Geographe | Pertaringa McLaren Vale | Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley | Phoenix Estate Clare Valley | Pikes Clare Valley | Pirramimma McLaren Vale | Plantagenet Mount Barker | Possums Vineyard McLaren Vale | Purple Hands Wines Barossa Valley | Quarry Hill Wines Canberra | RBJ Barossa Valley | Red Earth Estate Western Plains | Redbox Perricoota Perricoota | Redheads Studio McLaren Vale | Reilly's Wines Clare Valley | Remarkable View Winery Southern Flinders Region | Richard Hamilton Wines McLaren Vale | Riseborough Estate Swan District | Riverbank Estate Swan Valley | Rockford Barossa Valley | Roehr Barossa Valley | Roenfeldt Hill Barossa Valley | Rojomono Barossa Valley | Rolf Binder Barossa Valley | Rosemount McLaren Vale | Rosenvale Wines Barossa Valley | Rowsley Fault Vineyards Geelong | Rudderless Wines McLaren Vale | Ruggabellus Barossa Valley | Rusden Wines Barossa Valley | Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen | Saltram Barossa Valley | Samuels Gorge McLaren Vale | SC Pannell McLaren Vale | Scarpantoni Estate McLaren Vale | Schild Estate Wines Barossa Valley | Schiller Vineyards Barossa Valley | Schulz Vignerons Barossa Valley | Schwarz Wine Company Barossa Valley | Scion Vineyard Rutherglen | Scorpiiion Barossa Valley | Seppletsfield Barossa Valley | Serafino Wines McLaren Vale | Seraph's Crossing Clare Valley | Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley | Shelmerdine Heathcote | Shingleback McLaren Vale | Sieber Road Wines Barossa Valley | Simon Hackett McLaren Vale | Skillogalee Clare Valley | Smallfry Wines Barossa Valley | Sons of Eden Barossa Valley | Soul Growers Barossa Valley | Spinifex Barossa Valley | Spook Hill Wines Riverland | Springs Hill Vineyard Fleurieu Zone | St Annes Vineyards Perricoota | St Hallett Barossa Valley | Stakehill Estate Peel | Stonewell Vineyards Barossa Valley | Swan Valley Wines Swan Valley | Swings & Roundabouts Margaret River | Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes | Tait Wines Barossa Valley | Talijancich Swan Valley | Taltarni Pyrenees | Talunga Adelaide Hills | Tapestry McLaren Vale | Tatachilla McLaren Vale | TeAro Barossa Valley | Tellurian Heathcote | Temple Bruer Langhorne Creek | Tenafeate Creek Wines Adelaide Plains | Teusner Barossa Valley | The Gap Grampians | The Grapes of Ross Barossa Valley | The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo Island | The Lily Stirling Range Porongurup | The Minya Winery Geelong | The Old Faithful Estate McLaren Vale | The Ritual Peel | Three Dark Horses McLaren Vale | Tim Adams Clare Valley | Tim Smith Wines Barossa Valley | Tin Shed Wines Eden Valley | Tintara McLaren Vale | Torbreck Vintners Barossa Valley | Trentham Estate Murray Darling | Tulley Wells Upper Goulburn | Turkey Flat Vineyards Barossa Valley | Twelve Staves Wine Company McLaren Vale | Two Hands Barrosa | Uleybury Wines Adelaide Zone | Valhalla Wines Rutherglen | Valley Wines Swan District | Varrenti Wines Grampians | Veronique Barossa Valley | Vinaceous Various | Vinifera Wines Mudgee | Vino Italia Swan Valley | Vinrock McLaren Vale | Vintara Rutherglen | Virgara Wines Adelaide Plains | Wakefield Estate Clare Valley | Wallington Wines Cowra | Western Range Wines Perth Hills | Whistler Wines Barossa Valley | White's Vineyard Swan Valley | Willunga 100 Wines McLaren Vale | Windy Creek Estate Swan Valley | Winter Creek Wine Barossa Valley | Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale | Witches Falls Winery Granite Belt | Woodstock McLaren Vale | Wynwood Estate Hunter Valley | Yaldara Barossa Valley | Yalumba Wine Company Barossa Valley | Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale | Yelland and Papps Barossa Valley | Z Wines Barossa Valley | Zitta Wines Barossa Valley | Zonte's Footstep Langhorne Creek |

Grenache and Food

Grenache is one of thirty-six varieties discussed at length in Evan Goldstein's Daring Pairings book. While the lighter styles are versatile as accompaniments to food, bigger styles demand a hearty meaty dish to really show their stuff.

GSM wines are firm, well flavoured and coloured. They go well with barbecues, but are certainly not out of place with the best cuts of meat, roast beef or lamb perhaps. Or you could think Provencal foods, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and herbs.

Grenache also makes well flavoured rose wines. Here you might need something as simple as a few olives, some tapenade and goats cheese or smoked almonds, but a plate of freshly grilled sardines also come to mind.

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