Today we’re looking at one of the most widely grown grapes in the world: Grenache. These grapes are responsible for some of the tastiest — and priciest — wines in the world. This late ripening grape is mostly grown in warmer regions like Spain, California, Australia, and Southern France. Just under 500,000 acres of vineyard land is dedicated to Grenache, making it one of the top ten largest wine crops in the world.
Needless to say, Grenache is one of the most important grapes around and is responsible for the divine taste of wines such as the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as single varietal offerings.
At the heart of Grenache’s appeal is its intense fruity flavor and herbal notes. Berries such as strawberries, black cherries, and raspberries are most prominent, and there is a hint of cinnamon and anise. The combination of these flavors results in a wine that brings to mind the unmistakable taste of fruit roll-ups. In case it wasn’t already clear, this is the ultimate wine for fans of fruit-heavy, herbal wines!
Along with the intense fruity, herbal taste, Grenache wines typically have a medium level of acidity and a medium level of tannins. Keeping with the dead-center theme, Grenache is also medium bodied and, in terms of color, falls right in the middle of the spectrum between the lighter shades found in Pinot Noir and the rich darkness of Syrah.
The herbal notes in Grenache make it an ideal companion for spicy foods like Indian and Thai curries, goulash, and chili. The wine also brings out the meaty flavors of beef stews and lamb heavy dishes like shepherds pie. In fact, gamey, flavorful meats almost always go well with Grenache. Sausages, rabbit, and steak are ideal proteins to enjoy with this wine.
The gentle tannins of Grenache make it an ideal wine to enjoy with cheese. Try having a glass with some mature Cheddar, Red Leicester, or Double Gloucester.
Wines to try
Grenache wines are well-regarded and it’s not unusual to find bottles costing as much as $600. Fortunately, for most of us, Grenache is available at a number of price points and it’s possible to get a good bottle for as little as $19.
Casa Castillo El Molar Tinto ($19)
This fruity and spicy wine has hints of balsamic vinegar and a delightfully complex finish.
Domaines Lupier La Dama ($29)
Another complex offering. This wine combines dark fruits with an intensely powerful floral aroma.
S.C. Pannell Grenache ($35)
Rich and spicy with hints of aniseed and licorice. This is a great bottle to indulge in.