Our Picks: Global Grenache

To celebrate International Grenache Day (17th September), we have selected eight wines that showcase this wonderful variety’s great potential for site expression.

From low-yielding old-vine bush-trained Garnacha grown at high altitude in Navarra and Calatayud, through to the Grenache champions of the Swartland and McLaren Vale, our picks display a real sense of place and deftly balance the innate freshness, lifted complex aromatics and vibrant fruit character that are the hallmarks of premium Grenache.

Or why not try the variety in its white-berried form? Grenache Blanc and Garnacha Blanca can produce richly flavoured whites, both as a single varietal or blended, in the Southern Rhône, Rioja, and beyond.

Willunga 100, McLaren Vale Grenache 2020

“With the new release we were aiming for a fresher and brighter ‘drink now’ style, with the addition of whole bunch (14% in this vintage) giving some really pretty and pure Grenache aromatics and at the same time contributing some lovely structure from the stalk tannins." - Skye Slater, Winemaker.

S.C. Pannell, `Smart` Clarendon Grenache 2020

A beautifully perfumed style of Grenache from 65-year-old bush vines in Clarendon, the highest Grenache vineyard in McLaren Vale at 230 metres above sea level. Recently awarded 96 points by Ned Goodwin MW and noted as being "exceptional Grenache, that, with a few others, sets the regional high tone."

Momento, Grenache Noir 2019

Winemaker Marelise describes herself as "head over heels, utterly and ridiculously in love with this grape" ever since her time spent in Priorat alongside Eben Sadie. Produced from low yielding old bush vines in the Paardeberg, this is a delicate and refined interpretation akin to Pinot Noir with notes of rose, fynbos and cherry, and refreshing energy.

Domaines Lupier, `La Dama` Navarra 2017

Champions of 'mountain viticulture', Elisa and Enrique produce ethereal old vine Garnacha sourced from vineyard parcels at 650-700 metres above sea level. High altitude and Atlantic influence combined with the vines old age (average 80+ years) and low yields, lead to a wine with effortless finesse, floral notes of wild herbs and dense red berry fruit.

Cuevas de Arom, `Arom` Calatayud Garnacha 2018

Grown at 600 metres above sea level. 'Arom’ offers a superbly balanced expression of Garnacha with bright and fragrant aromas of blackcurrant, white pepper and thyme, supported by firm tannins and beautiful freshness, quite unlike a traditional Spanish Garnacha.

Izadi Larrosa, Rioja Blanca 2020

Produced from Garnacha Blanca vines planted in the 1960s at 600 metres above sea level in Rioja Alavesa, this has superb purity of fruit, combining aromas of lemon peel, pear and honeysuckle with zesty acidity.

Domaine Bressy-Masson, Rasteau 2020

Laurent Bréchet of Chateau Vaudieu has found what many consider to be one of the top sites in Rasteau. The diverse soils on south-facing hillsides produce both elegant and powerful expressions of Grenache. Blended with a small percentage of Syrah and Mourvedre, this is an enticing wine with a juicy core of blackberry fruit and smooth tannins.

Famille Perrin ‘Les Sélections Parcellaires’, Vinsobres `Les Hauts de Julien` 2012

Located at 300 metres above sea level, this single vineyard site is co-planted with 90 year-old Grenache and Syrah vines. The 2012 is 70% Grenache, which lends the wine an exceptional purity of fruit. Organically farmed and positioned on limestone terraces, this site produces a perfumed and elegant expression of Grenache with fantastic depth and concentration.