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Garnacha grapes

The Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in the world.

Its long, recorded history, taste, flavors, blends and a reputation of robust adaptability towards several soil types and climates helped gain it a considerable international identity.

Some of the best known wines from France and Spain that are imported around the planet have their origins attested to the Garnacha grape.

Historically, this grape was originally grown in Spain, where it quickly spread to France, Sardinia, southern Italy (the heel) and Corsica.

Making use of the advantage that it received during the Middle Ages when Spain exercised control over large parts of the Mediterranean, the grape, owing to Spanish exploration and overseas adventures, quickly spread among locals and the elite of the Mediterranean.

Today, more than 95,000 hectares of vineyards in France grow the Garnacha, which is also the largest producing single nation of the same grape.

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Its international recognition and robust reputation made it gain popularity even among Australian and American winemakers in the 19th century and that helped it reserve some considerable land to be deployed for its plantation.

Garnacha wines are therefore some of the most commonly consumed wines in these two overseas regions.

In this section, we discuss some of its important facts that include origins, viticulture and food pairing.

Origins of Grenache

The Grenache is officially and historically a Spanish variety. In Spain, these are known as Garnacha, to give it a Spanish tone while the rest of the world knows it simply as Grenache.

Its oldest records still survive today and have been appropriately preserved by several authorities.

Ampelographic evidence suggests the grape originated in the Aragon region, eastern Spain, where it quickly spread owing to recognition given by the Aragonite crown.

Aragon used to be a dominant political faction in medieval Spain and wrote its destiny in the coming centuries for the Iberian country we see today.

Spanish Empire itself extended to Sardinia, Corsica, the heel of Italy as well as the islands of the Mediterranean during which the grape is attested to have gained popularity among the locals who resided in Spanish colonies

The grape did suffer an onslaught during the phylloxera epidemic, although its international fame and repute saved it from total destruction.

The epidemic was also one of the prime reasons of it being spread throughout California and arid valleys of Australia in search of new homelands where they are now abundantly grown.

James Busby is credited to have introduced the grape in 1832 to the continental nation. The same era also witnessed a growing awareness among American winemakers of the grape’s potential. These can now be found in the San Joaquin valley.

Viticulture

The Garnacha is an early ripening and budding variety that has a characteristic upright, woody canopy.

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Because of its structure, it poses problems during the harvesting seasons when most winemakers want to pick the grape bunches manually.

Because of the difficulty in picking Garnacha, a lot of winemakers employ mechanized methods although they are expensive and difficult.

Mechanized methods can also damage the harvest. Due to its long association to the Mediterranean, the grape is best suited to grow in warm, arid climates with soils that are dry and sandy although the vine is also noted for its high adaptability towards several soil types.

It is drought resistant because of its water retention traits so winemakers need not worry about lack of irrigated water, although that becomes an important factor when it comes to developing acids and alcohol content.

The grape, when grown and fermented in ideal conditions, produces fruity, pale wines that lack tannins and acids and are generally very alcoholic.

To produce richer wines, a lot of enthusiasts blend it with other popular grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon to produce darker, fruitier and richer tasting wines that also have tannin and notes of white pepper and smoke.

The grape is not very resistant to bugs and fungal infections as was the case during the phylloxera crisis so winemakers need to observe attentively.

Pairing up

Garnacha wines are fruity beverages with notes of several berries and citrus fruits, mixed with traces of certain other elements like tobacco, smoke, dark chocolates and peppers when developed from blending grapes.

These mix with nearly every Mediterranean cuisine like tossed mushrooms, salads or even desserts.

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Author

Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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