We look back to the year 1647 to find the first written document about the White Grenache from the Father Onofre Català; and it was collected by the Father Manyà in the book “Notes d’Història de Gandesa” (1962). In this writing, it clearly mentions that “”vernatxa”(white variety) has been planted on one of the farms belonging to the parish of Gandesa”. Throughout the Mediterranean area, several authors refer to the variety in his literary work long before Father Onofre Català; such as Eiximenis a Catalan author who refers to it in his work “Lo Crestià” (1385); however, although no one knows for sure if they refer to the same variety, but they defined these wines as dry, white and liquor wines.
Nowadays, White Grenache and Terra Alta form an inseparable binomial which have carved a niche to international markets, thanks to several motives listed then. The White Grenache represents 22% of total production in Terra Alta that represents more than 90% of White Grenache in Catalonia and it is said that it represents a third part of the world’s production from this variety.
An important fact which explains the good adaptation of White Grenache in Terra Alta is the climatology which is Mediterranean with continental influences, abundant sunshine, scarce rainfall and cold winters. There are two particularities, on the one hand, the balance between the two prevailing winds and on the other hand the large temperature variation between day and night during summers. All these characteristics make the plants fit in smoothly and have excellent ripeness.
The characteristics of White Grenache in the field are:
Vigorous plant and an average production.
Very resistant to drought, heat and adapts to non-very fertile and rocky lands.
Very resistant to the wind.
Sensitive to excess of moisture and being waterlogged.
Sensitive to poor fruit set of flowers.
Medium bunch, medium and small grain with thin skin.
Sensitive to the grape worm, mildew and botrytis.
Shortly sensitive to powdery mildew and mites.
However, the behaviour in cellar is:
Sensitive to oxidation.
It produces alcoholic wines.
It has medium-low acidity (increases in cold climates).
Suitable for aging due to good evolution.
Straw yellow or golden yellow, depending on the type of elaboration.
Aromas of medium intensity, floral, fruity and herbaceous notes.
Flavour: persistent and full-bodied.
In short, this is a rustic variety in fields and delicate during winemaking. In glass it is a variety which is not highlighted for its intense smell, but it is by its intense and structured palate and its complexity, as well as a good aptitude for aging.
The DO Terra Alta also identifies the bottles with a quality seal that are made with one hundred percent of White Grenache which exceeds 80 points out of 100 rating on the tasting panel.