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European Grenache or Garnacha: The Quality Wine for Every Occasion

No matter what you call it, Grenache or Garnacha, this European wine grape varietal will surprise you with its versatility

In France, you’d call it ‘Grenache’ and in Spain they call it ‘Garnacha’ but no matter its name, it is the same varietal that brings us to a range of very special wines. European Garnacha/Grenache grape varietal is one of the oldest to survive from the Old World, and they are actually leading us to a new wine experience in Asia.

As part of the European Union campaign to promote high quality agricultural products, the Garnacha & Grenache European Quality Wines from France and Spain initiative sees the Garnacha Origen Association work alongside the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon.

Garnacha & Grenache European Quality Wines from France and Spain campaign on collaboration with the European Union to promote EU agricultural products in the international markets

In cosmopolitan Singapore, one of the most developed countries where the campaign is being rolled out, wine lovers are passionate and discerning. With an international and refined palate as such, the market for European Garnacha/Grenache wines has been steadily growing.

The varietal’s history goes all the way back to ancient Europe in what is now North-Eastern Spain, Garnacha seeds and leaves have been carbon dated back to 153 BCE, through the 14th and 15th centuries, Garnacha/Grenache comes along, finding a home in the Southern France.

Winemakers in the varietal’s birthplace have embraced the grape taking care of the old vines (ranging from 45- to 120-years-old) developing its full potential and high-quality. Old vines are the treasure of these appellations, producing even more terroir-specific, concentrated wines due to their lower yields and well-established, deep roots, particularly, in high-elevation sites with cooler conditions that preserve acidity, to make elegant, complex, and age-worthy wine.

With such ancient grapevines, it’s no wonder that Europe is also responsible for 93 percent of the world’s Garnacha/Grenache vines with the majority grown in France and Spain.

Harvesting European Garnacha/Grenache (Image courtesy of © Grandes Vinos y Viñedos)

To ensure a consistent standard and to assure consumers that they’ve got an authentic product, the EU has awarded quality signs Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) to the original wine regions where the varietal was born: Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano, Terra Alta and last but not least, Roussillon, with 14 PDOs and three Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs).

PDOs and PGIs from Europe have taken it upon themselves to spread the joys of European Garnacha/Grenache Quality Wines.

Roussillon Geographical Indications characteristics (Image courtesy © Cazes – Les Clos de Paulilles)

In order to be certified as a PDO or PGI, regions such as the wine producing ones aforementioned, go through rigorous checks on elements such as safety, traceability, authenticity, labelling, ensured quality, sustainability, among others. So, when a product shows one of the distinctive European quality seals, consumers worldwide can rest assured of their certified European origin and guaranteed quality.

Doing maintenance on old vines (Image courtesy of © ElenaN)

According to Kofi Annan, the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, during the 2011 World Climate Change and Wine Conference at Marbella in Spain, the grape earns its reputation as one of the most eco-friendly varietal for its ability to withstand dry weather conditions and strong winds.

Older vines dig their roots deep into the ground, absorbing the poor soil’s minerality and resources, bearing small fruits that have a concentrated flavour; a distinctive characteristic of the grape with naturally low yields.

Another highlight of Garnacha/Grenache grapes is its diversity: most are red (i.e. tinta or noir), it also comes in other varieties such as white, grey and peluda (hairy).

Although it’s a varietal most of us are familiar with in Singapore, having seen it in blends such as the GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre), we now have the chance to taste single-varietal wines, thanks to modern European Garnacha/Grenache producers.

They not only make red wine with the fruit but also produce white, rosé wines, sparkling and fortified sweet wines (VDN: Vin Doux Naturel), which make pairing possibilities endless:

With so many options to choose from, perhaps you’ll have better luck coming up with your own Garnacha/Grenache food and wine pairing!

To find out more about the European Garnacha/ Grenache Quality Wines from France and Spain, please visit garnachagrenache.com/press

The content of this promotion campaign represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission and the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Lu Yawen

Editor in chief

A free-spirited creature, she enjoys both the shiny and gritty things in life. She envisions a home by the ocean with weekly dive expeditions and art exhibitions.

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