What’s so special about Grenache? This soft, spicy, and typically highly acidic wine is a beautiful juxtaposition of softness and strength. Read on to learn more in our guide to Grenache/Garnacha wine.

Note: There are actually both red and white Grenache grape: the red Grenache’s formal name is “Grenache Noir” and is usually referred to as simply “Grenache” while the white grape is distinguished by the title “Grenache Blanc.” (This article focuses on the characteristics of Grenache Noir.)

Guide to Grenache/Garnacha

Origin of Grenache Noir

There are two competing stories regarding the origins of Grenache grape. One is that it originated in Spain; another legend is that it was brought to Spain from Sardinia around the 14th century. The grape is generally believed to have originated in Spain.

Primary Regions of Grenache Noir

Grenache is found in warmer climates such as the south of France, the Central Valley of California, and Spain. It was the primary grape grown in Australia until Shiraz was introduced to the continent in the 1960s. Read more about the history of wine in Australia.

Grenache grapes in Priorat, Spain.

Characteristics of Grenache

Grenache is usually a lighter bodied wine. But, like every other wine, there are always exceptions to the rules. There  are some heavier, more full-bodied Grenache wines currently in production. Usually, they are sweet, fruity, and have minimal tannins. They can sometimes have a candy quality about them which is highly desired by those who love sweeter, fruitier wines.

Grenache Pairing Suggestions

Fuller bodied Grenache wines can hold up against meat dishes, particularly braised meats and stews. (We would probably drink a heavier red with grilled meats: a Grenache is too light to stand up to the char flavors from grilled foods.) Because of the wine’s high acidity, they do surprisingly well with tomato based dishes: the acidity of the wine compliments the tomato sauce. Lighter Grenache wines also work well with vinaigrette in salad.

Grenache Serving Temperature

Serve Grenache between 60 and 65 degrees.

Grenache Wines to Try

Spanish Old Vine Garnacha by Tres Picos

Tablas Creek’s Rhone Blend

Wines from Priorat, Spain