The vines in the vineyard are all garnacha with a few exceptions of white vines used in the olden days to soften red wine. The resulting wine is rose, we want rich red. What other grapes can we plant to complement a garnacha based blend?
Jancis Robinson has recently published a new book called "Wine grapes" with almost 1,400 different vine/grape species and their origin. I went throught the Spanish list this morning and selected the following based on the species suitability to the terrain, climate and flavour. Here's the shortlist and their characteristics:
CABERNET FRANC (origin Basque Country). Mid ripening, rather vigorous, suited to clay-limestone soils but also performs well in sandy soils if there is no water stress. Small berries. Very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but with less dramatically indented leaves. Buds and matures earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon and thus more prone to coulure but easier to ripen fully. Very hard wood and small berries.
GRACIANO (Rioja/Navarra). Mid to late budding, late ripening. Vigorous, drought resistant but difficult to grow due to low fertility and yields, susceptibility to downy mildew and rot. Its wine is valued for its acidity and perfume. Best suited to clay and limestone soils, cooler sites and short pruning.
JUAN GARCIA (Rivera del Duero area). Highish yields, suceptible to botrytis bunch rot and powdery mildew. Early ripening (especially when planted near the river) and grapes often shrivel when ripe, giving high sugar levels in the berries.
MAZUELO (also known as Carignan from Aragon). Vigorous and highly productive (up to 200 hl/ha when given free reign), late budding and very late ripening, so that it needs the heat of the Mediterranean climate to thrive. It is highly prone to powdery mildew, less so to botrytis bunch rot and downy mildew; also prone to attack from grape moths. Resistant to phomopsis. Bunches cling firmly to the wine, making it less suitable for mechanical hasvesting.
TEMPRANILLO (Rivera del Duero area). Medium-sized to large compact bunches of small, thick-skinned berries. Relatively fertile. Early budding and ripening. Yields range from medium to high according to the site. Sensitive to the wind and to extreme drought. Susceptible to powdery mildew and to eutypa dieback but generally resistant to botrytis bunch rot. High yields reduce colour and fruit intensity as well as acidity.