France and especially the Rhône Valley, Priorat in Spain and the island of Sardinia: these are just a few wine Grenache notable regions where this grape is considered as one of the best on the planet. In fact, there are not many wine regions where you can’t find at least some Grenache planted. But what is Grenache wine? The grape is most commonly known as Grenache, but it also goes by the name of Garnacha in Spain, or Cannonau in Sardinia. Yes, grape varieties tend to have plenty of synonyms which sometimes makes the whole thing a bit confusing.
Despite its popularity in the vineyards, Grenache is often overshadowed by the top tier grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Grenache is known as a key component in well-known blends like Southern Rhône’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape but perhaps because of its blending potential Grenache usually shares the stage with a bunch of other grapes and doesn’t always get the credit it deserves as a stand-alone variety.
Some people think Grenache is just a “workhorse” variety. A dependable ingredient that winemakers can use to create consistent wine year after year. Sure, that too. Grenache is a remarkably versatile grape variety that produces some of the best rosé wines in the world, nuanced red wines, and age-worthy fortified wines.
Grenache is a thin-skinned variety with moderate levels of acidity and tannins. It can produce easygoing reds with a reasonably straightforward flavor profile (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) but in the right hands and planted in the right spot Grenache can produce beautifully balanced wines with tons of personality.
Grenache is a lot of things but a one-trick pony it is not. It is a grape variety that should be celebrated as one of the all-time greats. I highly recommend you go out, find some Grenache and get acquainted with this remarkable grape variety.
Here are a few of the best options to get you started to Grenache taste.
Home of Erasmus Grenache
This wine has definitely some South African sun in it. Juicy, blackberry and peppery licorice flavors with ripe tannins providing a smooth lingering finish. There is also a floral touch that brings some nice levity into the mix. Pair with hearty winter dishes or perhaps some good old barbecue.
Gemtree Cinnabar Organic Grenache
McLaren Vale in South Australia has slowly become a renowned hub for high-quality Grenache, and not the jammy kind either. This brilliant Grenache is packed with bright raspberry fruit, refined tannins, and a spicy tapenade-esque finish. A fresh and savory drop that goes with a variety of dishes.
La Nit de les Garnatxes Calissa Limestone
Rich, intense, supple, awesome. Monstant might not be as famous as the neighboring Priorat which means you can find some stellar wines with a smaller price tag. Hints of rosemary, red cherry, plum, and firm tannins. Pair this with some meaty tapas dishes, and you are good to go.
Chapoutier Bila-Haut Banyuls
Banylus is an excellent example of the versatility of Grenache. Vineyards on steep terraces near the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Roussillon produce low yield but high-quality Grenache. Ripe black fruit and hints of dark chocolate with a concentrated mid-palate and fine chewy tannins. A stylish dessert wine.