Grenache is a hearty, productive red grape popular in southern France (especially Southern Rhône) as well as in Spain, where it is called Garnacha. It is also grown extensively in Australia and the United states.
When fully ripe, Grenache features very fruity flavors — predominately strawberry — coupled with a fiery spiciness. Grenache wine styles can vary from light-bodied, delicious, fruity rosés to rich, red, table wines, to full dessert and fortified wines. Grenache produces powerful wine, but has a deceptively lighter color and is semi-transulcent.
Much of Grenache’s popularity is due to its bountiful growing habits in poor soils, particularly in warm, dry and windy climates. It buds early and, if left on the vine for late harvesting, it reaches high sugar levels. This allows winemakers to make high-alcohol wines. This growing strategy is another of the reasons for the grape’s versatility.
Due to its thin skin and pale color it is the most popular grape used in the production of rosé wines. Grenache-based rosé is one of southern France's signature wine styles. Grenache is typically the dominant grape in red blends with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault made in France’s southern Rhone region, producing wines as celebrated as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and accessible as Cotes-du-Rhone.
Grenache is also one of the most versatile wines to pair with food. Due to its spicyness, pure red fruits, fresh attributes and endless levels of depth and textures, Grenache works well with a diverse line-up of foods.
It pairs perfectly with grilled, stewed and braised meats like beef, veal, pork, chicken and of course game. Grenache holds up well to hearty dishes like cassoulet and it’s a good match for less spicy styles of Asian cooking; however, the spice in Grenache also makes it a perfect pairing buddy to spiced and herb foods including roasted meats, vegetables and many ethnic foods.