Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc in France), is a green grape used to produce dry as well as VDN wines. It is also one of the eighteen varieties permitted in the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape blends.
Garnacha Blanca is a mutation of Garnacha Tinta. The variety has problems in retaining acidity if grown in too warm or dry climates. It is sensitive to its terroir and will quite easily reflect the conditions of its growth place, for example slate.
Typical aromas are green apples, peach, apricot, honey, and almonds. If fermented at a low temperature, it can also display notes of dill in its first years.
Garnacha Blanca is commonly found in different blends. It is increasingly also becoming available as a dry varietal wine, and will then typically be a full-bodied wine, often having been matured in oak. Look for Grenache Blanc from Languedoc-Roussillon, or from California’s Central Coast region. The VDN wines are produced in southern France, mostly in Languedoc-Roussillon.
In Spain, you can look for varietal Garnacha Blanca wines from the northern or north-eastern regions of Navarra or Priorat. Some of these wines will be even more developed, having been left to mature on the lees after the fermentation has finished.
Avoid to serve a varietal Garnacha Blanca to cold. Being a full-bodied wine it is likely to need a couple of degrees’ higher temperature compared to many other white wines in order to really open up compared to your ordinary dry white wine. Nice food pairing will be a rich salad, or a seafood paella.
The wine is best served at 10-12°C/50-54°F
Where is it grown?
The plantings of Garnacha Blanca have decreased both in France (twenty-three percent) and in Spain (forty-eight percent) between 2000 and 2010.
In France, it is now the twenty-first most planted grape with 5.004 ha/12,365 ac. Most of this is in the Languedoc-Roussillon and southern Rhône wine regions.
In Spain, Garnacha Blanca is the thirty-seventh most planted grape with 2.263 ha/5,592 ac.
Most plantings are in the Tarragona and Zaragoza regions. In Tarragona, there has however been a decrease of plantings with fifty percent in ten years.
Outside of France and Spain, there are new but so far small plantings in USA and Croatia.
Garnacha Blanca’s origin is to some extent disputed. There are two competing stories as to where the Garnacha grapes originated, one claims from north-eastern Spain, and the other one claims from Sardinia.
Due to the larger amount of mutations found in Spain, there is however a good likelihood that its origin actually is in Spain.