Garnacha Tinta is a black grape from Spain that has lost ground, above all in Spain, but is now instead planted in what, based on the small acreage, seems to be test plantings, in several new countries.

Characteristics
Garnacha Tinta is a high yielding variety that is not too picky with the kind of soil it will grow in. To perform really well it needs to be planted in places that offer long and warm growing season. Thanks to good drought resistance it will perform well also in high tem­perature areas.

If allowed a long growing season with late ripening, Garnacha Tinta will tend to produce high alcohol wines, e.g. around 15% vol.

Dry wines will commonly be full bodied, with aromas of blackberry, black current, but also raspberries and cherries. Cinnamon is typical and sometimes you will also find notes of tobacco or liquorice.

If grown in Southern Rhône you can expect some herbal notes, while California grown grapes will have some floral notes. Garnacha Tinta will take maturation in oak barrels well.

Wines
Garnacha Tinta is used to produce several kinds of wine, and is for example one of the main grapes in the famous Chateauneuf de Pape blend from southern Rhône.

It is more common to find the grape as part of a blend than as a dry varietal, although they definitely have their place on the market. One example is in Sardinia, where you will find it as a dry varietal under the synonym Cannonau.

Under the synonym Grenache Noir, it is common for producing rosé wines in southern Rhône.

Food pairing
Garnacha Tinta is a grape that will perform very well with various dishes based on red meet, from light to medium heavy.

If you’re in Sardegna, try to find an Agriturismo that will serve Su Porcheddu, suckling pig roasted in a cooking hole in the ground for approximately twenty-four hours together with myrtle.

When Garnacha Tinta is the dominating part of a wine it can be expected to pair well also with spicy food. Best serving temperature for the wine is 15-18°C/59-64°F.

A Garnacha Tinta based rosé will commonly be a medium bodied wine. It will pair excellently with for example a salad Niçoise, or a Paella. The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

Where is it grown?
Garnacha Tinta is one of the big grape varieties. In 2010, its worldwide plantings mounted to 181.485 ha/448,460 ac, positioning it as the seventh most planted grape in the world. It has however decreased with some fifteen percent in ten years. In 2000, it was the third most planted grape worldwide. The decrease has taken place above all in Spain (twenty-seven percent). In spite of this, it is still the fourth most planted grape in the country. In France, it is the second most planted grape.

  • France 90 991 ha/228,844 ac. MPG rank 2
  • Spain 70 140 ha/173,320 ac. MPG rank 4
  • Italy 6 372 ha/15,746 ac. MPG rank 24
  • Algeria 6 040 ha/14, 925 ac. MPG rank 3
  • USA 2 666 ha/6,588 ac. MPG rank 17
  • Tunisia 2 020 ha/4,991 ac. MPG rank 3
  • Australia 1 748 ha/4,319 ac. MPG rank 12
  • Morocco 802 ha/1,982 ac. MPG rank 10

Plantings smaller than 200 ha/494 ac are reported from (in order of decreasing acreage): South Africa, Mexico, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Chile, Turkey, Argentina, China, New Zealand, Peru, Austria, and Brazil.

In most cases these are small or very small, and have been planted between 2000 and 2010.

History
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. This is to some extent also confirmed with the number of synonyms, one-hundred and forty-three, out of which the most of them appear to be Spanish.

Two mutations that stem from Garnacha Tinta and are reasonably well known are Garnacha Roja and Garnacha Peluda.