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Grenache ‘is the next Pinot Noir’

Red grape Grenache is “the next Pinot Noir” and is set to surge in popularity in UK restaurants and bars this year as an affordable alternative, according to one on-trade supplier.

Speaking during a trade briefing in London yesterday organised by Jascots, the supplier’s buying and marketing manager Adam Porter said:

“Grenache is the next Pinot Noir. It offers similar qualities like perfume and spice but is more affordable than Pinot. It’s an illusive and alluring grape and one restaurant wine buyers should have on their radars.”

Porter believes a consumer passion for Priorat and Châteauneuf-du-Pape will help Grenache in its plight to go mainstream this year.

Thought to have originated in Aragon in Spain, the earliest mention of Garnacha (as it’s known there) came in 1513 when it was referred to as “Aragones”.

The apogee of Grenache: Château Rayas

Written off in the past as nothing more than a rustic workhorse, the emergence of Priorat on the world wine map has done much to elevate the grape’s status.

The wines of Château Rayas in Châteauneuf-du-Pape are considered to offer the purest expression of Garnacha in the world, though increasingly impressive examples are coming out of Australia.

During his speech, Porter revealed that wines from Spain, Italy and France account for 75% of UK wine listings, with New World wines lagging behind.

Pinot Noir is currently the most frequently listed red wine in the UK on-trade, with Spanish red Tempranillo in second place and Italian stalwart Sangiovese in third.

On the white front, while Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc continue to cannibalise UK restaurant and bar listings, Riesling is on the rise.

Both Albariño and Gavi are proving hugely popular in the UK, but Porter believes the future lies in more obscure native Spanish and Italian whites like Godello, Garganega and Pecorino.

“The esoteric end of Italy and Spain can take on craft beer and spirits at their own game as they have the same authenticity and provenance,” he said.

Porter also spoke passionately about the need for UK restaurants and bars to up their by the glass offerings in order to keep things exiting for diners.

“Every single wine on your list should be available by the glass – we’ve got the technology to do it now,” he told the on-trade attendees in the audience. He also singled out wine on tap as a trend set to gather momentum this year.

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