Grenache blanc

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Grenache blanc
Grape (Vitis)
Grenache B.jpg
Grenache blanc in Viala & Vermorel
Color of berry skin Blanc
Species Vitis vinifera
Also called Garnacha blanca, Garnatxa blanca, White Grenache (more)
Origin Spain
Notable regions Spain, Rhône valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Leaves of Grenache blanc vines

Grenache blanc is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigor can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavor and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne. Since the 1980s, it has been the fifth most widely planted white wine grape in France after Ugni blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc.[1]

History[edit]

Grenache blanc is thought to have originated as a mutation of the red version of Grenache in Spain. It then spread across the Pyrenees to France, finding a second home in the Rhône.[2]

Wine regions[edit]

Grenache blanc is an important variety in the French wine region of the Rhône Valley, often blended with Roussanne in wines and even being included in some red wines. It is a major component in the white wines of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône AOCs. Up to 10% Grenache blanc is permitted to be included in the red wines of the Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC. In the Rivesaltes AOC, the grape is used as a blending component in some of the regions vin doux naturel wines.[2] Nearly half of all Grenache blanc plantings in France are located in the Roussillon region where the grape is often blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Rolle. In the upper Agly Valley, varietal terroir driven examples are starting to be produced.[1] In white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache Blanc provides fruitiness and fatness to a blend that often includes Roussanne, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Clairette blanche.[3]

Other old world regions[edit]

In Spain it is mostly found in the Spanish wine regions along the Pyrenees, particularly in Navarra and the Terra Alta region in Catalonia. It is also widely planted in the Priorat, Alella and Aragon. It is permitted in the white wines of Rioja but is not widely used due to the tendency of the must to oxidize easily.[4]

In Australia the variety known as "White Grenache" was identified by ampelographer Paul Truel as Biancone in 1976.[4]

Winemaking[edit]

Grenache blanc responds best to low fermentation temperatures which produces a fresh, dill scented wine in its youth. The grape is fairly flexible in winemaking and can be exposed to malolactic fermentation, extended skin maceration, lees stirring as well as oak aging. In addition to being blended with Roussanne, Grenache blanc is sometimes blended with Muscat and made in a varietal style.[2]

Synonyms[edit]

Alicante blanca, Belan, Feher Grenache, Garnacha blanca (Spanish), Garnatxa blanca (Catalan), Vernatxa blanca (Catalan) in Tierras del Ebro,[5] Rool Grenache, Silla blanc, Sillina blanc[6] and White Grenache. Plain 'Grenache' or 'Garnacha' almost always refers to the red variety of Grenache.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 334 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  2. ^ a b c Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes pg 113 Harcourt Books 2001 ISBN 0-15-100714-4
  3. ^ J. Molesworth "The Best White Wine That You're Not Drinking" Wine Spectator, December 15, 2007
  4. ^ a b J. Robinson Vines, Grapes & Wines pg 245 Mitchell Beazley 1986 ISBN 1-85732-999-6
  5. ^ Puiggròs, Josep M. (2013-09-00). "DE LA VERNATXA A LA GARNATXA BLANCA, EVOLUCIÓ HISTÒRICA". Dossiers Agraris 15 · La varietat garnatxa blanca 7, p. 7-16. Institució Catalana d’Estudis Agraris. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  6. ^ Maul, E.; Eibach, R. (1999-06-00). "Vitis International Variety Catalogue". Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV) of the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), Deichmanns Aue 29, 53179 Bonn, Germany. Retrieved 2007-05-05.