Grenache: Poised for Greatness in the U.S.

    While it’s no secret that the Rhone Valley is the source of some of the world’s finest Syrah-based wines, many American consumers may be less aware that the Cotes du Rhone’s most-grown grape varietal is not the oft-mentioned Syrah, but rather Grenache, a grape highly valued by winemakers for its soft, fruity and round profile.

     Syrah and Grenache work together to create well-balanced wines, with the latter’s abundant fruit and elegant structure balancing the bold tannins and spice of the former.

     Andre Compeyre, director of wine and service for the LHLM Group, which owns and operates renowned chef Anthony Bourdain’s Brasserie Les Halles, is a strong proponent of Southern Rhone Grenache wines.

     “I love Grenache and its fruit flavors of prune, fig and wild berries, which can also appear earthy with notes of cacao,” he told Marketwire. “When handled well and in the appropriate terroir, like the Cotes du Rhone, one discovers a wine that is rich and powerful, but also balanced, complex and fresh.”

     Here’s a quick quiz…

     1. Which grape is the most widely planted varietal in the Cotes du Rhone appellation, with 65% of the vineyard area?

     2. of Cotes du Rhone appellation wines and 50% of Cotes du Rhone Villages appellation wines?

     3. Which grape variety was originally grown in Spain and introduced to France during the 13th Century?

     4. Which grape variety’s sweet berry qualities provide the backbone for the world-renowned roses from Tavel?

     5. Which grape variety produces wines that are an ideal food-pairing partner with a wide and diverse array of dishes?

     If you answered “Grenache” to all of the above, you are correct.

     Grenache pairs well with dishes spanning a wide spectrum, from fatty salmon, grilled tuna or lobster to grilled lamb, steak and pork chops – another reason it’s a varietal not to miss.

     With a history of great winemaking and a host of devotees throughout the wine world already in its corner, Grenache’s status alongside other celebrated Rhone varietals is firmly secure, but its popularity and presence in the United States is about to reach the next level.

     For more information about the Cotes du Rhone, log on to

Posted in Wine in the Glass
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