Grenache Blanc

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Grenache Blanc, the white-berried form of grenache noir, was once important in France, where it was overtaken by Sauvignon Blanc as fourth most planted white grape variety (after Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sémillon) as recently as the late 1980s. Although in decline, the variety is still grown on a total of 5,541 ha/13,686 acres of France, throughout the Languedoc Roussillon, where it produces full-bodied whites that vary from fat and soft to nervy, floral, terroir-driven cellar candidates. In table wines it is typically blended with the likes of Grenache Gris, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Macabeo, and Rolle, adding supple fruit if not necessarily longevity. It need not necessarily be consigned to the blending vat, however. If carefully pruned and vinified, it can produce richly flavoured, full-bodied varietals that share some characteristics with Marsanne and can be worthy of ageing in small oak barrels. It is also an ingredient in white Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is a significant ingredient in Roussillon’s vins doux naturels. The variety is also found in varietal form in California and occasionally in South Africa.