Updated: Sep 14
International Grenache day is Friday, September 15! So let’s learn more about this versatile grape that is planted in six of the seven continents and serves as the base for a number of red and rosé wines.
Characteristics of Grenache
Grenache is a black grape variety that needs a warm climate to ripen successfully, hence its success growing in Spain, the south of France, and Australia. Due to its red fruit flavours, Grenache is commonly used to make rosé wines that range from dry to medium in sweetness and are meant to be consumed chilled while young and fruity.
When ripe, Grenache grapes have high levels of sugar and low acidity. It’s a thin-skinned variety that produces wines with low to medium tannins with red fruit flavours like strawberry, red plum and red cherry, as well as white pepper and liquorice.
Grenache is often blended with other black grapes, such as Tempranillo in Spain or Syrah in France, which add colour, body and tannins to the wine.
Grenache or Garnacha?
This grape variety is thought to have originated in Spain where it is called Garnacha (or Garnatxa in Catalonia), and from there it spread into the south of France, specifically the Rhône Valley. Once in France, its name changed to Grenache, which is the more typically used name around the world. It’s also known as Cannonau in Sardinia, Italy.
Major Grenache Regions
In the southern Rhône, Grenache complements big wines with deep complexity, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape which is usually made from 80% Grenache.
In the south of France, Grenache is used as one of the base grapes for rosé wines, especially in Provence. It’s also blended with local grape varieties like Syrah for a full-bodied red wine.
Garnacha contributes body and fresh red fruit to wines from Rioja DOCa as well as Navarra DO, where it is used for making dry rosé wines. But the most full-bodied Garnacha-based wines are from Priorat DOCa in Catalonia, as this warm dry area is home to some very old Garnacha vines that produce tiny yields of concentrated grapes. These are typically blended with other grapes and can age for a long time.
South Australia’s warm Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions are also home to very old Grenache wines, which produce outstanding wines with concentrated red-fruit and spice flavours with a long aging potential.
Check out this great resource about Australian Grenache.
Grenache can elevate any meal as a wine pairing due to its versatility and delicate taste. It goes perfect with barbecues, steak, hamburgers, bolognese pasta, lasagna, grilled poultry...the list goes on.
Whether you're partial to Spanish Garnacha, Rhone Valley reds or Australian Grenache, pick up a bottle today and show us how you're celebrating on social media with #GrenacheDay!