Grenache

An extremely versatile variety, planted all over the world. (Exact figures are difficult to come by, but it is apparently either the third or fourth most widely cultivated red-wine grape, after cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and possibly tempranillo.) While the wines it produces are generally lighter than those made from syrah or mourvèdre, they are typically fruit and intense in flavor. Believed to be of Spanish origin, the grape is popular in Spain, where it is called garnacha or garnacha tinta and found in various parts of Catalonia (including Priorat, where it is the main traditional red grape) and in Rioja, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, La Mancha, the region of Madrid, and elsewhere. In France, it is the major red variety in the southern Rhône and the Languedoc-Roussillon, and has a major presence in Provence. In Australia, it was the number-one red variety until the mid-20th century (when shiraz and cabernet sauvignon overtook it), it is used increasingly in so-called GSM blends (with syrah and mourvèdre). Once a standby for California jug wines, it has more recently been adopted by the "Rhône Rangers" of that state, and it has also done well in Washington State. In Sardinia, grenache is called cannonau and is widely used. In addition to red wines, grenache is particularly well-suited to the production of rosé. There is also a white version, grenache blanc, generally grown in the same regions that cultivate red grenache.