The first thing that might come to your mind when you hear the word Grenache’ is Grenache’ red wine also known as Grenache Noir. But do you know there is another overlooked delicacy extracted from the same grape group that is Grenache Blanc? Although this particular category is not celebrated the same as other white wine categories like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, this particular white wine is worth sipping. Through this article, you will get to know every other detail about this wine. Here every detail about the wine including how it is made, where it is originated from, how it is compared to other blends, what goes well with it, how to make the maximum from a glass of wine and appropriate serving temperature are mentioned below.
What is Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca)?
Popularly known as Garnacha Blanca or Grenache in its native place, Grenache Blanc is a full-bodied or a variety of white wines which is originated from northern Spain. Although it is originated in the norther Span, Grenache Blanc is mostly associated with France in the Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhone Valley wine region. Yes, you are right, this particular variety of white wine categories is related to red wine categories of wine. Later after its plantation in the United States, this white wine started growing popularity for its richness, intense flavour, a higher percentage of alcohol & plush style just like the Chardonnay. Today Grenache Blanc for its unique taste is also widely grown in Australia and South Africa. This particular white wine is also grown on the Central Coast of California. The cooler southern region allows the wine to develop a strong and crisp acidic note. Garnacha Blanca is considered as a mutation of dark-skinned Grenache Noir Grape. The best part about these vines is they remain intact in dry conditions like drought.
This particular white wine looks super sophisticated and gorgeous. It has a light golden coloured finish and is mostly produced in Spain and France as a varietal wine.
The main theme of this wine is ‘Green Richness’. When you will take the first sip you will find aromas of green fruit and citrus flavours including green apple, Asian pear, unripe mango, white peach and lime zest. As the wine ages, you might also find some other notable flavours in the wine which include some sweet floral notes of fenugreek, honeysuckle or a slight blend of cumin along with some brioche, lemon curd and baked apple. On the palate, the wine will be rich and plump with a pear-like flavour. The alcohol levels in the wine is a bit on the higher side ranging from 13% to 15% (higher than US standards which are 12%), giving the Grenache Blanc a spice-driven flavour.
Fact: Grenache is often blended with 13 other varieties including white and red grape varieties. If you ever had a glass of red Grenache, there is a high possibility that you have already tasted a portion of Grenache Blanc in it.
Making the process of Grenache Blanc
Just like any other type of wine, Grenache Blanc is made from pressed grapes before going for fermentation. As the juice of the grapes starts fermenting, the yeast starts eating away the sugar and converts it into alcohol. When fermentation is run for a considerable long period of time, all the sugar content in the juice gets eaten by the yeast, resulting in a dry wine. However, if the maker intends to make the wine a little sweet, fermentation is stopped before the completion of the process to keep more residual sugar.
Similar to other popular wines like Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc can also be aged in oak. When aged in an oak, the wine will get a cream-like texture and will have warm tasting notes. If not aged in an oak, the wine might taste crisper acidic like flavour. Grenache Blanc is mostly used in making wine blends rather than being produced as a single varietal. Although after gaining popularity worldwide, toady Grenache Blanc is also being produced single by many vintners. Common blending wines that are partnered with Grenache Blanc may include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Muscat and Viura. At certain places, vin doux naturels, a naturally sweet and fortified wine is often mixed with white Grenache.
Ageing: Grenache Blanc is one variety of wine that is sensitive to oxidation. It takes approx. 1 to 5 years to age perfectly. It is preferred to store it in an extremely cool and dark place to get the best flavours out of it. When this white wine is blended with other wine varieties, it becomes eligible to age longer.
How to enjoy Grenache Blanc the best possible way?
The best way to enjoy a glass of wine is by simply cracking open the wine bottle and sipping in the delicacy. Since wine is a sophisticated drink, there are certain guidelines that can enhance your experience of drinking wine. Whether you are at a party or drinking solo, use these tips below to enjoy the maximum out of a Grenache white wine.
- Keep the wine in a Cool place- Wines are supposed to be aged and kept in a cool place. Drinking a warm glass of wine is probably the worst thing you can experience. The ideal serving temperature of this wine is 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Serving it at this temperature will help reduce some aromatic intensity of the wine due to the high alcohol percentage present in it. When served cool you will experience its delicate acidity, aromas & fresh fruity flavours. However, it is recommended to not serve it too chilled as this can end up blanking the flavours, leading into a blank tasteless beverage. It is recommended to refrigerate the wine for a couple of hours before serving it. After refrigeration, you can also put it on the tabletop to slightly let it warm down.
Bonus: To enjoy Grenache Blanc, you do not need a wine decanter since it is sensitive to oxidization. Once out from the bottle sip it in instantly to get the real flavours.
- Food pairing with Grenache Wine- Since this particular wine is of higher intensity and richness, it will go well with a variety of non-vegetarian protein-rich foods like fish and rich red meats like lamb. Any kind of spicy food will go well with Grenache Wine. Just keep in mind that the food is not too spicy as it can create a burning sensation when consumed with this high-intensity wine. Spicy lamb chops, Prawn tempura or herb-crusted chicken will go perfect with Grenache Blanc.
To enjoy it with meat-less vegetarian delicacies, you can try it with grilled zucchini, roasted cauliflower, Spicy roasted bell peppers or eggplant. You can also try this white wine with cheese pairings like soft creamy Camembert or Brie. You can also enjoy it with slightly harder cheeses like Swiss and Comte. If you have a sweet tooth and prefer enjoying your wine with a sweeter note you are recommended to try it with green apple crumble and roasted sweet Asian pear.
- Glassware tips for enhancing your experience- One of the most overlooked factors while consuming wine is glassware preference. Though it might look like a very minor detail, but in reality it’s going to make a lot of difference to your overall wine-drinking experience. It is recommended to serve this wine in a white wine glass, preferably a Chardonnay (Montrachet) glass since these glasses have a wide bowl to enhance the richness and creaminess of the drink.
A quick look at the fact about Grenache Blanc
In a nutshell, here are certain quick facts about Grenache Blanc that you will find interesting:
- Easy blends with other wines- Due to its sensitive oxidization nature, Grenache Blanc blends easily with other popular white wines. Popular blending grapes may include Roussanne.
- Related to red Grenache: The white Grenache Blanc is related to the red grape Grenache. You can call them cousins.
- Lasts more than 100 years- Grenache Blanc takes more than 5 years to ferment completely. Often to halt the fermentation of the winemaking process, brandy is added to the blend to receive the desired sweetness level. As the brandy halts the fermentation process it also makes the wine fortifying and sweet. This helps the wine to last for near about 100 years. Next time you visit a wine shop you might find bottles from the 1920s and 1930s. These old bottles are defiantly worth a try.
Originating in Spain and France, Grenache Blanc has gained a lot of popularity in other parts of the world. This particular variety of white wine is definitely a palate pleaser. So what are you waiting for? Enjoy this full-bodied and flavorful white wine category as a single varietal wine or as common blends with some delicious spicy roasted meaty sides. Now that you know everything about the popular Grenache Blanc, it’s time for you to visit a wine shop and grab a bottle of good old Grenache Blanc wine and spend a wonderful evening. Cheers!