What is Garnacha Wine?
The most important thing to know about any given type of wine is whether or not you like it.
But when a bottle with an unfamiliar grape variety catches your eye, it’s helpful to know what you can generally expect.
And if you’re gastronomically inclined, understanding the flavor notes of a given varietal makes it easier to pair wine with what you’re serving.
So what is Garnacha wine? In short, Garnacha, also known as Grenache, is a red wine grape variety originally from Spain. It has notes of red berries (think cherries, raspberries) and spices like cinnamon.
On menus and bottles, both the French Grenache and the Spanish Garnacha are used to refer to this juicy red wine.
Where is Garnacha wine from?
The grapes in Studio Null’s non-alcoholic red wine Solo Garnacha are from Cariñena, Spain, in Spain’s dry, rocky northeast.
Garnacha is known as Grenache in France, where it’s also popular. In France, it’s grown in the Rhône Valley.
Garnacha is a hardy grape that does well in warm, dry climates.
It’s very drought resistant. We expect to see it continue to grow in popularity for both winemakers and drinkers alike as climate change continues to challenge how wine grapes are grown.
You can find it in:
- Northern and eastern Spain, especially Priorat
- Southern France
- Sardinia (where the grape is known as Cannonau)
- Australia’s McLaren Vale
- California’s Napa Valley
Grenache Blanc, or Garnacha Blanca, is the white version of the grape, found in Spain and France.
How is Garnacha wine made?
Garnacha wine, like many red wines, needs a long, dry growing season.
Harvest usually takes place at the end of summer.
After Grenache grapes are picked, they are pressed and fermented at low temperatures.
Winemakers decide how long to leave the skins on during fermentation, which impacts the color of the wine. Garnacha is then aged in oak barrels.
Garnacha / Grenache wine is both bottled on its own and used in blends.
What is Garnacha wine’s taste profile?
Garnacha grapes have relatively thin skins, which means the wine produced from Grenache is often lighter and softer than other red wines.
We asked Maryam Ahmed, who owns Maryam + Company, a certified B corporation that specializes in curating education and experiences that celebrate food and wine and is one of Wine Enthusiast's Future 40 Tastemaker, to elaborate on what Garnacha tastes like.
“To me, Grenache has layers, starting with inviting red fruit, like raspberries and strawberries, leading into spice and citrus rind,” says the creator of Field Blends. “A lot of folks compare Grenache to a fruit rollup, but I think of it more like a homemade red lollipop.”
What does Garnacha wine pair well with?
Garnacha goes great with grilled meat or vegetables, fresh seafood (try Chef Zacarías González’s squid ink paella!), and pizza.
But its versatile, balanced flavor means it can pair with dishes on the heartier side of the spectrum (pot roast, ratatouille) as well as lighter ones (asparagus risotto).
What to remember when trying Garnacha — or any other wine?
Whether you’re trying Studio Null’s non-alcoholic Solo Garnacha, a French Grenache, or an Australian GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre) blend — or any other wine, for that matter — remember that it’s what you think that matters most.
Per Ahmed, “Folks who are trying something for the first time are the best because they have no preconceived notion of how it should smell or taste.”
If you’re trying a new-to-you glass, Ahmed has some advice: “Smell and taste the wine and write down what you think before you read the back of the label or Google the grape. It's a good way to calibrate your palate, because what someone else might say about a wine might not be exactly what you experience.”
So feel free to open a bottle of Garnacha, disregard all of the above, and taste away.