Garnacha Roja, more commonly known as Granacha Gris or Grenace Gris, is a greyish-pink grape* from Spain
Garnacha Roja belongs to the Garnacha grape family and has pretty much the same characteristics as its other family members, apart from the grape colour. It thrives in warm and dry climates as well as when grown on dry, stony hillsides. It will also quite easily reflect the conditions of its growth place.
Furthermore, it is a vigorous variety, very resistant to both strong winds and drought. Aromas tend to be pear, apple, and stone fruit. It is medium to medium low in acidity.
In Spain, most of the Garnacha Roja grapes are used to produce white wine. Pears and yellow apples dominate the aromas. The amount of wines made from the grape that are available on the market is however very limited.
In Roussillon, you will find varietal Grenace Gris (or blends with for example Grenache Blanc) with different kinds of vinification, e.g. both steel tank as well as oak barrel maturation.
In Rhône, Grenache Gris is almost exclusively used for producing rosé wines. If you find it as a rosé, expect to be met by strawberries, light cherries, and raspberries.
A white Grenace Roja, matured in steel tank, will be very nice as an aperitif. It will also pair nicely with a creamy chicken dish. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
If matured in oak why not try with an omelette with new potatoes, dried tomatoes and goat cheese. Serve the wine at 10-12°C/50-54°F
A rosé made from Grenache Roja is probably best enjoyed on its own, served at 10-12°C/50-54°F, sitting in the shadow on a warm Summer day.
Where is it grown?
In total, there are 1.635 ha/4,040 ac planted Garnacha Roja in France, making it the forty-fifth most planted grape in the country. This corresponds to a decrease in acreage of thirty-seven percent in ten years.
Most plantings, some eighty-four percent, are in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
Several Spanish regions report plantings. They are however very small, e.g. less than 10 ha/25 ac per region.
Very small plantings are also found in Thailand and South Africa.
There are two competing stories as to where the Garnacha grapes originated, one claims in north-eastern Spain, and the other one claims that it is from Sardinia. Due to the larger amount of mutations found in Spain, there is however a good likelihood that its origin actually is in Spain. Garnacha Roja is a mutation from Garnacha Tinta.
*The name Garnacha Roja is also used as a synonym for another grape (the Spanish variety Garnacha Tinta), e.g. the variety from which it has mutated.