Whether you call it Grenache, Grenache Noir, Garnacha, or one of the many other names this grape variety goes by, Grenache is a wine grape worth knowing. Traditionally grown in northern Spain where it is still known as Garnacha, the variety spread to southern France centuries ago and is now grown throughout the world.
Grenache wines come in a wide variety of styles, but most of them are easy to drink, showing a full body and mouth-filling texture. Grenache can offer bright red fruits of raspberry and strawberry and notes of herbs, white pepper and leather. In warmer growing regions it shows more concentration and a deeper color, but is generally lighter in tannin and sometimes lighter in color than the varieties with which it often blended, including Syrah and Mourvèdre.
Grenache is the signature grape in the Southern Rhône Valley of France, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it can be paired with several other approved grape varieties. International regions, including Australia, have adopted a blending approach with Grenache, too, producing G.S.M. wines that include Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. You will also see it as a single varietal in the Central Coast of California and most notably in Priorat, Spain, where the wines from old vines are inky dark and powerful.
In honor of International Grenache Day, here are 8 Grenache-based wines that come highly recommended by Wine Enthusiast reviewers based on our blind tastings.
Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils 2019 Cuvée de mon Aïeul Grenache (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 98
Typically a standout even amongst the best of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this monumental bottling is sourced from 75- to 90-year-old Grenache planted in a diversity of pebbly, sandy and clay soils. Fermented partially in whole clusters, it offers black-cherry and raspberry flavors that are herculean in ripeness yet silken and deft, lifted by streaks of salt, crushed stone and smoke. A stunner in youth, the wine will likely improve through 2035 and hold further. Editor’s Choice —Anna Lee C. Iijima$75 Wine-Searcher
Kaena 2019 Ali’i Grenache (Santa Ynez Valley)
Ignacio Marín 2020 Magnifico Garnacha (Cariñena)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 88 Points
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of blackberry and roasted red pepper. Mellow tannins roll across the taste buds carrying flavors of cherry, raspberry, vanilla, violet and black pepper that roll on towards a floral-laced finish. Best Buy —Mike DeSimone$10 Wine-Searcher
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 87 Points
A nose of strawberry and plum jam, backed by licorice, mocha, green peppercorn and a Szechuan spice note, leads to a full figured palate that is muscular and a little warm alcohol-wise, but isn’t without freshness. Tannins creep in slowly but eventually envelop the tongue, ending pinched and drying, with some woodiness showing, too. —Christina Pickard$12 Vivino
Perinet 2017 Vinya Mas del Xes Garnatxa (Priorat)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 90 Points
With aromas of cherry cola, black currant and juniper berry, this inky violet-colored wine is spicy on the palate. A network of silky tannins supports flavors of ripe plum, maraschino cherry, Chambord, anisette, clove and coffee bean that culminate in a minty finish. —M.D.$109 Wine-Searcher
Binzamanna 2020 Rentiles (Cannonau di Sardegna)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 87 Points
Aromas of mature dark-skinned fruit, scorched earth and baking spice slowly emerge from the glass. The dense, one-dimensional palate exhibits black cherry syrup and vanilla alongside rounded tannins and the heat of evident alcohol. —Kerin O’Keefe$20 Wine-Searcher
Horsepower 2019 Sur Echalas Vineyard Grenache (Walla Walla Valley (OR))
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 95 Points
Fruit for this wine was grown on stakes with the cobblestone soils plowed by horse. The aromas are gifted with notes of potpourri, raspberry, black olive, white pepper and herb. Pillowy soft red fruit follows, flavorful but reserved ramping up in intensity significantly with time open. Savory notes emerge. There’s an impressive, minute-plus long finish. It’s outrageously good—one of the standouts of the vintage. It only gets better the longer its open. Best after 2026. Cellar Selection —Sean Sullivan$165 Wine.com
Domaine de la Présidente 2020 Red (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 89 Points
A six-month maturation predominantly in oak lends pleasantly nutty, smoky inflections to bold, primary flavors of fresh blackberries and blueberries in this wine. A youthful, fruit-forward blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre, it balances juicy fruit against fine, raspy tannins and a hint of bramble. No further cellaring is needed to enjoy this wine, which should hold well through 2025. —Anna Lee C. Iijima$38 Total Wine & More
Last Updated: June 6, 2023