Grenache Rouge

WINES WITH THIS VARIETY

Meth’Imon Opsimo

Red wines are a perennial favorite, yet many people are unfamiliar with the spectacular reds made from the Grenache grape. It’s too bad, really, that so few recognize the potential greatness of humble Grenache, because the grape yields a smokey, earthy, spicy, and delicious wines that pair well with many foods. If you’ve never tried a red wine made from Grenache before, then you just might want to pick up a bottle the next time you visit your local wine shop.
Blush wine lovers may be familiar with a light pink wine known as white Grenache. Made from the either Grenache Blanc or the Grenache Rose grapes, white Grenache is a relative of red Grenache; however, its flavor provides no insights into the wonders that await in red Grenache wines. Many varieties of Grenache exist, including Grenache Noir (from which the red Grenache wines are made), Grenache Gris, and Grenach Rosé. The Grenache Noir grape is the second most planted grape in the world. In Spain, the Garnacha grape (Spanish for Grenache) graces delicious, smokey Priorats, while in the Rhône region of Southern France, expert winemakers blend Grenache with several other grapes to make Old World style Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. You can find this red wine grape growing in many other wine producing regions, as well, including Australia, California, Sardinia (where it is known as Cannonau), and multiple other regions around the world.
Youthful Grenache wines yield fleshy fruit bombs that practically explode on your palate. As they age, the wines open up with flavors of black currants, blackberries, tobacco, and dried apricots. Both new and old wines may have an earthy flavor that renders wines made with the Grenache grape very recognizable. The fruity and earthy flavor profile of the wine helps it to flesh out stronger, more tannic grapes, providing a palate-pleasing roundness that the wines wouldn’t have without the addition of Granache.
While Grenache ages fairly quickly as a varietal, when blended with other wine grapes, the wines often have significant staying potential. This is especially true of Rhône wines blended with Grenache, which hold up well because of the backbone of the other grapes blended in the wine.