Traveling the Globe for Grenache

It’s an underrated wine I’ve mentioned before, but since it has its own holiday Friday it seems like the ideal time to revisit Grenache.

These wines are typically bursting with bright red fruits—raspberry, cherry, strawberry— and are medium body and low in tannin. However, it’s style can vary based on where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made.

In the United States, as well as other new world countries like Australia, there are more single varietal Grenache wines than in old world countries. For example, it is often blended with Syrah and Mouvèdre to make what are referred to as GSM (Grenach-Syrah-Mouvèdre) wines. These reds tend to be fuller body with more earthy, herbal notes.

In Southern Rhône, Grenache is the predominant grape in the well-known wines Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. These not only display notes of plum, cherry and herbs, but also can be gamey and even offer hints of leather depending on the age of the wine. The older the wines the more likely you’ll find these more complex aromas.

When we travel over to Spain, Grenache is called Garnacha. Here it is often blended to produce full-body wines with dark fruits that have more tannin. Two of the more common regions to look for these wines are Rioja and Priorat.

In Italy these wines are known as Cannonau and the grape is primarily grown in Sardinia. Here it is sometimes blended, but overall these wines are full of spicy red fruit aromas and flavors.

Additionally, throughout the wine regions of the world this grape is used to make rosé that is typically dry, but full of bright red fruit. It’s delicious on a warm summer evening. There’s also Grenache Blanc, but we’ll dive into that one later.

An added bonus of Grenache is its food friendly and can pair deliciously with everything from winter squashes to pasta dishes to grilled salmon to Margherita pizza.

Cheers to Grenache!