What is Grenache?
Written by Missa Capozzo, Director of Sommology on September 21, 2018
Our Director of Sommology introduces you to her favorite red grape, Grenache, also known as Garnacha in Spain. She’s got the inside sip on where it’s grown, and why it’s more popular than you might realize. Let’s get to know Grenache!
Grenache (pronounced gruh-nahsh) is one of my absolute favorite red grapes. The first time I sipped this varietal was as a Spanish Garnacha, and I fell in love at first sip with its deep, juicy plum and red berry flavors and soft texture. Since then, Grenache/Garnacha has held a very special place in my heart. It’s a rare day that I see it on a restaurant’s wine list and pass it over.
Grenache/Garnacha is the second most widely planted red grape in the world. If you have never heard of it, you might be wondering how that’s possible. Well, Grenache is actually one of the world’s most popular blending grapes. Although it is an absolute superstar as a single varietal wine, it is also widely blended with other grapes the world over to provide luscious fruit and to help boost alcohol levels in the finished blend.
What is a Grenache Blend?
Grenache/Garnacha is the most widely planted red grape in Spain, and a powerhouse in our own 2015 Desvia, where it shares the bottle with Tempranillo. This grape is part of the trio known as “G-S-M” (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) that makes up many popular Southern Rhône blends. Grenache is also commonly vinified as a rosé, and you can find it in our 2017 Three Hearts, a dry French rosé.
Grenache has it all, from juicy blackberry, plum, cherry, strawberry and currant, to spicy black pepper and licorice, as well as floral and earthy notes (think violets and rose petals over tobacco and leather), and when oaked, lends notes of cocoa and vanilla. The soft tannins lend a velvety texture on the palate that even the most fickle can’t help but fall in love with.
Grenache/Garnacha can stand up to rustic and earthy dishes with game meats, pork, and beef as well as those with tomato sauce, or even a hearty paella. Hard cheese and dark chocolate are simple pairings that will make this grape variety shine. Discover more perfectly paired recipes on our Sommology page.
Cheers to my favorite grape, Grenache! Give it a try, and it might just become your new favorite, too.