Garnacha: The Old Vine Varietal


They say good things come in small quantities. This is certainly the case with Garnacha. Garnacha comes from vines that are at least a few decades old. Garnacha is also characterized by extremely low yields. Moreover, it takes plenty of wine making savvy to produce Garnacha. But for Garnacha producers, the results make the hard work worthwhile.

Garnacha is characterized by a broad range of flavor profiles. White Garnacha can be light-bodied, crisp, and full of apple, peach, citrus and mineral notes. It can also be deeper, and full of floral and honey aromas, as well as melon notes.

Reds can be lively, bright, and full of fresh red fruit notes. Some varietals can also be full-bodied and bursting with deep berry notes, with undertones of sweet spice.

Wine producers from 5 regions in Spain, namely, Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Carinena, Somontano, and Terra Alta are part of the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) that guarantees the quality of their Garnacha. Moreover, every Garnacha with a PDO label in these regions must contain a minimum of 85% Garnacha.

The grape also benefits from a multi cultural interpretation of its qualities depending on the region where it is grown (the Languedoc Roussilon and the Cotes du Rhone in France, and California in The United States, and so forth). Garnacha runs the gamut of flavor profiles, making it a great pairing candidate for different cuisines from spicy Southeast Asian to eclectic New American.

Here are some 100% white and red European Union PDO certified Garnacha selections from these
five Spanish regions worth considering depending on your particular wine palate.

If you like your whites crisp, with ripe lemon, summer fruit, and green apple notes, balanced acidity, and a refreshing mineral character:
Region: Terra Alta
Edetaria Seleccio Blanc, 2014
La Fou Els Amelers, 2015
Ilercavonia, 2015
Meshes Garnatxa, 2013
Vila-Closa Blanco, 2015
These selections tend to pair well with raw, baked and steamed seafood dishes, as well as with baked or grilled, and lightly seasoned poultry.
If you like your reds soft and fruit driven, with fresh berry and red fruit notes:
Region: Campo de Borja
Coto de Hayas Garnacha Centenaria, 2014
Region: Calatayud
Alto Las Pizarras del Jalon, 2011
These reds tend to complement meats such as pork and duck, and make a good Fall wine selection.
If you like your reds full-bodied, with balanced tannins, ripe blackberry, preserved fruit, and sweet spice notes, and hints of tobacco and oak:
Region: Carinena
Particular, Garnacha Vinas Centenarians, 2012
Vinas Viejas de Paniza, 2012
These full-bodied reds pair well with hearty dishes such as seared grilled steak and braised lamb.
Garnacha by any other name (Grenache) is still the same…a quality grape with the versatility to adapt to the ever evolving world of gastronomy.

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