The red grape variety originates from Spain and belongs to the group of Garnacha varieties (see there for its ancestry). There are well over a hundred synonyms that indicate the great age and the wide distribution of the vine in many countries. The most important ones grouped alphabetically by country are Blauer Alicant(Germany); Alicante de Pays, Alicante Grenache, Alicante Noir, Alicante Spagna, Bois Jaune, Gamay Perugino, Granache, Grenache, Grenache Noir, Navarre de la Dordogne, Redonda, Roussillon, Sans Pareil(France); Aleante, Aleante di Rivalto, Aleante Poggiarelli, Cannoao, Cannonaddu, Cannonadu, Cannonadu Nieddu, Cannonao, Cannonatu, Cannonau, Cannonau di Villasor, Cannonau Nero Cannonau Selvaggio, Cannono, Canonao, Canonazo, Granaxia, Ranaccio, Tai Rosso, Tintoria, Tocai Rosso, Vrannaxia, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, Vernaccia Nera(Italy); Grenache Crni (Croatia); Abundante, Abundante de Reguengos(Portugal); Alicante, Aragones, Bernacha Negra, Garnacha, Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Pais, Garnatxa, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Pais, Garnatxa Tinta, Garnaxa, Gironet, Granaccia, Granacha, Granacha Fina, Granache, Granaxia, Granaxo, Lladon Aragonase, Lladon Negre/Negro, Licante, Tinta Menuda, Tintella, Tintilla, Tinto Basto, Tinto de Navalcarnero, Tintore di Spagna, Vidueño Negro(Spain).
It must not be confused with the varieties Alicante Henri Bouschet (Garnacha Tintorera), Morrastel Bouschet (Garnacho), Plant Droit (Garnacha Francesa), Tempranillo (Garnacho Foño, Grenache de Logrono), Tinto de Navalcarnero or Vidadillo de Almonacid (Garnacha Basta), even if synonyms or morphological similarities appear to indicate this. For the Garnacha Tinta, no parent-offspring relationships have been proven so far; the parentage or parenthood is therefore unknown. The Portuguese variety Olho de Cocco originates from a presumably natural cross between Garnacha Tinta and Plant Droit.
The late ripening grapevine is susceptible to downy mildew, black spot disease and botrytis, but is resistant to wood diseases such as Esca and eutypiosis and therefore durable. Its resistance to drought in hot, dry areas, where it is often trained in bush form, is also an advantage. This makes it predestined for climate change, so to speak. The variety yields rather low-colour and low-acid, soft but alcohol-rich red wines. These are used primarily for rosé wines or as a blending partner with the tannin-containing Tempranillo varieties in Spain, as well as Mourvèdre(Monastrell) and Syrah in France. The variety is considered to be a true mass carrier. With correspondingly low yields, however, the variety can produce red wines full of character with storage potential. It belongs to the extended circle of the so-called Cépages nobles.
In Spain, mainly under Garnacha Tinta, it occupies 70,140 hectares with a decreasing trend (ten years previously it was 95,800 hectares). There it is mainly grown in the regions of Aragon, Castile-La Mancha and Navarre in the central east and north. In Navarre in particular, large quantities of rosé are produced from it. It is authorised in numerous DO areas, such as Ampurdán-Costa Brava, Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Costers del Segre, Empordà-Costa Brava, La Mancha, Méntrida, Navarre, Penedès, Priorato, Rioja, Somontano, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Utiel-Requena, Valdeorras and Vinos de Madrid.
In France, the variety is mostly grown as Grenache Noir, especially in the south of the country. With a total of 90,991 hectares of vineyards, it is the second most common variety after Merlot. In the Département Vaucluse in Provence alone, this means that around 27,500 hectares were planted with it. In the double region of Languedoc-Roussillon, it occupied around 25,500 hectares. It is also a component of the wines in the appellations Vin doux naturel of Banyuls, Maury and Rivesaltes. In the Rhône Valley it is the main variety of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In Italy, the variety is mostly cultivated under the name Cannonau, mainly in Sardinia on about 6,200 hectares. Here the DOC red wine Cannonau di Sardegna is made from it. The small remainder is cultivated in the Veneto region under the name Tai Rosso (formerly Tocai Rosso). In 2010, the Italian cultivated area amounted to a total of 6,372 hectares. Other areas are cultivated in Algeria (6,040 ha), Malta (25 ha), Morocco (802 ha), Israel, Croatia (103 ha), Portugal (84 ha), Tunisia (2,020 ha), Turkey (33 ha) and Cyprus (84 ha).
Overseas, there are areas under cultivation in Argentina (16 ha), Australia especially in South Australia (1,748 ha), Brazil (1 ha), Chile (37 ha), China (11 ha), Canada (2 ha), Mexico (140 ha), New Zealand (2 ha), Peru (1 ha), South Africa (187 ha) and Uruguay (5 ha), as well as in the US states of Arizona, California (2,497 ha), Oregon, Texas and Washington (106 ha). In 2010, the total area under cultivation was 181,485 hectares, with a strong downward trend (ten years earlier there were 213,987 hectares). This puts it in 7th place in the worldwide grape variety ranking.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Page: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)
Grape: From Josh McFadden - originally posted to Flickr as IMG, CC BY-SA 2.0, link