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In the Rhône, Grenache has always taken a back seat to Syrah as a blending grape. Even in the southern Rhône, where it forms the backbone of many of the area’s great wines, it is traditionally blended with other grapes for depth and character.

Grenache grapes in the Rhône

Still, Grenache is the key component of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Lirac, Tavel rosé, and most Côtes du Rhônes. These are complex, earthy wines with ripe, spicy fruit and can often be identified by distinct aromas of white pepper. Garnacha, as it is known in Spain, is the country’s most widely planted grape and is a key ingredient in the wines of Rioja. Some producers have also been making varietal Grenache wines in areas of the New World.