Grenache Gris: The Lesser Known Pinkish-Grey Cousin

grenache gris

Grenache Gris, also known as Garnacha Roja or Grey Grenache, is a grape variety that has been gaining some popularity in recent years.

While it is closely related to the more well-known Grenache Noir, or as a cousin to Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris is distinct in both its appearance and flavor profile.

What is Grenache Gris?

Grenache Gris is a grey-pinkish colored grape, which is where it gets its name. In fact, it’s a mutation of the red Grenache Noir grape, and is believed to have originated in northeastern Spain, in the region of Aragon. And from there, it spread to other parts of Spain, France, and beyond.

Also, resilient to drought and thriving in warm, dry climates, Grenache Gris mirrors its relatives Grenache and Grenache Blanc with their reliability and hardiness.

And Gris have more intensely colored grape skins, typically a pinkish-grey color, than most white wine grapes resulting in wines that are darker and fuller flavored. Therefore, Grenache Gris was often blended with other grapes in order to produce a rosé wine.

In addition, some winemakers have used Grenache Gris to produce naturally sweet wines, particularly in the Vin Doux Naturel (VDN) style. So, much like Port, VDN is crafted when the winemaker halts fermentation prematurely by adding a spirit-based ingredient – a process referred to as mutage. And they are enjoyed in the same way, as succulent dessert wines that complement creamy cheeses and after-dinner sweets.

However, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in producing varietal wines from Grenache Gris. Although still rare. And not only is Grenache Gris used as a white wine, but it’s also an incredibly unique orange wine with its own natural pigmentation. Its fermentation of the skins result in an exquisite pinky hue that stands out from other varieties.

Grenache Gris Wine Regions

France Wine Region Map red grapes pinot noir vintage champagne

Grenache Gris is primarily grown in the regions of northeastern Spain, particularly in the area of Terra Alta in Catalonia, as well as in southern France, particularly in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. However, the grape is also grown in other parts of Spain, as well as in the United States, Australia, and other wine-producing countries.

As for the types of wines made from Grenache Gris, they can vary depending on the region and winemaking style.

  • In Spain, Grenache Gris (aka Garnacha Roja) is often used to produce rosé wines, particularly in the Terra Alta region, where it is blended with other local grape varieties.
  • In France, more specifically the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Grenache Gris is often blended with other grape varieties, such as Roussanne and Marsanne, to produce medium to full-bodied white wines.
Spain Wine Regions Map Tempranillo grape regions

Grenache Gris Flavor Profile

grenache gris tasting notes

Grenache Gris is known for its complex and layered flavor profile. And it has a medium to full body and a high acidity, which gives it a refreshing quality.

Also it tends to have a range of fruit flavors, including citrus, peach, and apricot, as well as herbal and floral notes. Additionally, Grenache Gris often has a distinct minerality, which adds to its complexity. And in some cases, Grenache Gris may have an oily palate and a slight bitterness or astringency.

Grenache Gris To TRY!

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