This thin-skinned red grape noted for its red fruit characteristics, like strawberry and raspberry, used to be the backup singer of wine, always a blend but never the headliner. That’s because its high sugar/low acid content made it perfect for blending. It is the “G” of GSM wines, the famed Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blend that is used in Chȃteauneuf-du-Pape, and most other northern Rhône-style wines found in France, the US, or anywhere.

These days, Grenache is a favorite to produce Rosé wines because the thin skin makes it easier to express the juice. Rarely aged, Rosé is meant to be drunk young and fresh, which is why it’s become everyone’s summer favorite. Our wine host Alma Rosa winery makes a beautiful, pale (almost clear) example of a Grenache Rosé

You’ll also find Grenaches gaining new respect as a single varietal. Previously considered too much of a “fruit bomb” for most palates, winemakers have come to appreciate Grenache for the spicy notes of white pepper and licorice that play beautifully with the red fruit. Caliza’s 2019 version is a prime example and earned them a 93-point rating from respected wine critic Jeb Dunnock.

When you see Garnacha on the label, it is the same grape, only produced in the Spanish style. The third most widely planted grape in Spain, Garnacha is generally more robust and deep-colored than its French or American counterpart. The best Garnacha wine is produced in the Priorat region, located southwest of Barcelona, and only one of two regions in Spain which has the DOQ certification for the highest quality wines (the other is Rioja). Our June 2023 trip to Spain hosted by Chef Teresa Montaño of Otoño restaurant will be visiting some of the best of Priorat’s Garnacha producers.