Skip to content
In Good Taste

Introduction to Grenache

Introduction to Grenache

Grenache: The Basics

From roses to ruby slippers to strawberry Starburst, some of our all-time favorites are red. So, when we’re looking for a wine that’s bold, light-bodied, and oh-so-elegant, we know what color to look for. One of our favorites is Garnacha (aka Grenache), and we’re not the only ones: Garnacha is one of the preferred red wine varieties across the globe, and due to its popularity, it’s also one of the most widely planted!

Like many other classics (Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux), Grenache got its start in Europe. This fruity, medium-bodied wine grows best in a Mediterranean climate, first thriving in the hot and dry weather of what is now Southern France or Eastern Spain before spreading to the east and south. Catalonia was one of the first new areas to try its hand at Grenache cultivation, and it was quickly followed by the Crown of Aragon in Northeast Spain.

Garnacha grapes were growing actively in Southern Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, Croatia, Sicily, and even Greece between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries. In Spain today, you’ll find Grenache as the base of several monovarietal wines, especially in the Campo do Borja, Varinena, and Calatayud regions.

Fall Sangria

A delicious fall treat that works with any light red wine.

  • Thinly sliced fruit: orange, apple, pear
  • 1 tsp sugar and a pinch of cinnamon
  • Light Red Wine
  • ~1 cup ice to chill

Add sliced fruit, sugar, cinnamon and wine to a pitcher. Pour over ice into two wine tumblers and enjoy!

Garnacha is also a primary ingredient in blends, like GSM, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Mourvedre as well as Cannonau di Sardegna and rosé. Thanks to its high sugar content, Grenache is a major component of many fortified wines. Whether it’s Spanish wine or French wine, masters of Grenache have a few processing tricks in common...

Typical Processing Notes

You can spot (or, more accurately, taste) a Grenache wine from its unmistakable cinnamon and Fruit Roll-Up flavor. Since it has a higher alcohol content, you’re also likely to find a medium body, with a deceptively lighter, semi-translucent color.

The terroir of the region where Grenache production takes place also has a significant impact on its flavor. Depending on where the wine is grown, it often carries subtle yet distinct aromas of ruby-red grapefruit and orange rinds. If the Grenache you’re sipping hails from the Old World, like Sardinia or Cotes du Rhone, it will also boast herbal notes of tobacco and dried oregano. 

Terroir Effects on Wine Flavor

On the vine, Grenache berries tend to ripen late and have thin skin. Cropping levels and growing conditions cause the tannins and acid to be variable but usually tend toward the spectrum’s low-to-medium end. The result?  A spicy, rich, berry-infused flavor, with hints of another red favorite: raspberries. 

Top Growing Regions for Grenache

Garnacha grapes have a reputation as the backbone of some of the most beloved red blends, especially Provence’s silky roses and the wines of the southern Rhone Valley. However, this very versatile grape varietal now grows actively in multiple regions worldwide, from the Californian coasts to Australia, laying claim to approximately 456,000 acres worldwide. The top regions include:

  • France, with Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape boasting 250,000 acres

  • Spain, with Priorat and Calatayud boasting 170,000 acres

  • Italy, with Sardinia, Sicily, and Calabria boasting 55,300 acres 

  • The United States, with California and Washington boasting 10,000 acres

  • Australia, with South Australia boasting 8,000 acres

Aging Methods, Oak Barrel vs Stainless Steel

When it comes to aging, wine enthusiasts know it’s between oak barrels and stainless steel, each of which has a distinct impact on a wine’s flavor profile.. 

If you like your Grenache with warm, spicy aromas, then you’ll adore wine aged in an oak barrel. Oak tends to impart vanilla and smoky notes on the palate. 

The same goes for heady, intoxicating spicy aromas—if you’re a fan, then choose a barrel-aged Grenache. You won’t be sorry!

Wood is porous in nature, allowing oxygen to move in and out. Without letting in enough oxygen to ruin the wine (which would be a real tragedy), oak aging allows the wine to react with the wood to intensify its aromatics while honing its flavors. 

Stainless steel, on the other hand, doesn’t interfere with wine’s natural fermentation and aging process. Aging wine in stainless steel does not contribute nuance to the flavor profile and lets you enjoy the truest expression of the grape. Those who enjoy the natural sweetness of Garnacha grapes should opt for Garnacha aged in stainless steel. 

See, Taste and Smell Notes

Grenache wines are versatile, so there’s a lot to see, smell, and taste in every sip (or bottle). Flavor profile can also differ, depending on whether the wine is of the Old World or the New World.

Old World Vs New World

Old World Grenache wines tend to have a lighter body, a brighter acidity, and stronger earth-driven flavors. New World Garnacha varieties, on the other hand, have a full-bodied flavor, with lower acidity and higher alcohol content. New World Garnacha varieties also taste much riper on the palate. 

As the temperature and general climates of growing regions change, though, so do traditional definitions of what it means to be “Old World” or “New World.” These days, Old World wines might clock at relatively higher ABVs, with New World wines at lower ABVs but brighter acidity. 

Ideal Serving Temperature

For Grenache, experts recommend an ideal temperature of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for serving. At this temperature, the wine maintains its delicate aromas, fresh flavor, and favorable acidity. 

Recommended Glass Shape

For the very best experience of red French or Spanish Wine, including Grenache, we recommend sipping from a wine glass featuring a wider bowl and a shorter length. 

Grenache Wine – Acidity and Tannins

Red French wines, Spanish wines, and Grenache wines tend to have a medium acidity level. They do not contain harsh tannins and have a comparatively higher level of sugar. They are an ideal wine to pair with a variety of braised, stewed, and grilled meats and vegetables. 

Pair Grenache wine with grilled, braised, or stewed chicken, pork, veal, or beef. This wine variety can also be a zingy complement to less-spicy Asian dishes and cassoulet. 

Final Thoughts

Grenache grapes enjoy active production in various prominent regions around the world. Over the years, modern generations of winemakers have adopted an advanced approach to producing them, so you can now find several varietals available—each one of them juicy, spicy, and a little bit floral.

From a complement to a hearty grilled or braised meal to a delectable wine experience on its own, Grenache wines are the perfect reason to start seeing red.

Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.

$19.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

Follow us on IG

00:00 00:00
.