Grenache Blanc - Varietal Guide
Grenache Blanc is a white wine varietal that originated from the Spanish provinces of Barcelona and Tarragon. It is thought to be a mutation of the red version of the Grenache grape. During the Middle Ages, as the Aragon empire started to expand towards the Mediterranean coastline so did this varietal, setting root along the french Mediterranean coastline where it has become the predominant white varietal.
This varietal thrives in harsh environments where the soils are particularly rocky and dry. It produces the most when pruned rather short. They are exclusively implanted on the French Mediterranean coast. When it ventures to the north of these perimeters the clusters cannot reach sufficient ripeness. Production drastically dropped in 2000, but since then there has been a progressive increase in surface plantation reaching 8400 hectares in 2006.
With medium sized grapes and big bunches, this varietal produces strong, opulent, dry wines which usually have low acidity. Grenache blanc produces wines which produce citrus, herbaceous notes of dill and fennel.
This varietal is know to respond best at low fermentation temperatures producing green notes when of a young age. It's also quite flexible during the winemaking process, reacting positively to Malolactic fermentation and extended skin maceration. Nevertheless it is known to become flabby when yields are uncontrolled.
There are many excellent wines produced from this varietal but as Grenache blanc is sensitive to oxidation, it is best to drink them rapidly, preferably in a two year period.
Have you ever tried this varietal? What are your thoughts?