Worth the Challenges

Grenache (pronounced gren-AHSH) is well-known both as a white grape (grenache blanc) and a red grape (grenache noir). Grenache is indigenous to Spain, where it is known as garnacha (gar-NA-cha). Like pinot noir, grenache is genetically unstable, making it an extremely difficult grape to grow—and even more challenging to make into wine. From less-than-ideal vineyards, grenache can be heavy-handed, simple, and fairly alcoholic. But, at its best, it has unmistakable purity, richness, and beauty, with the aroma and flavor of cherry preserves. It’s typically blended with other varieties such as carignan, syrah, and mourvèdre to make some truly stunning wines, most notably in France and Spain. The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (France) and the Priorat (Spain) are perfect examples. (And perfect right now in cold winter months).

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