Garnacha/Grenache pairing is “infinite,” say US sommeliers and experts

© Bodegas San Alejandro

Wines made from European Garnacha/Grenache are very diverse and can be paired with a wide range of dishes. According to James Emminger of Cork Wines & Spirits, “Garnacha grapes have a very wide range of aromas, flavors and textures”.

For example, fruity Grenaches and light-bodied reds can be served with Indian curries, burgers, and chorizo in wine. A full-bodied red wine is ideal to pair with meat. For American sommeliers, “the pairing is perfect with this food”: from grilled lamb, white meats with strong sauces, to simple stews or braises with aromatic pork, chops, sausages, duck, or poultry.

For many professionals, such as Eric Foret of the French Wine Shop, one of the most repeated qualities of Grenache is “its versatility and affordability.” An example, for celebrations, Garnacha/Grenache wine is ideal for pairing with turkey or barbecued red meats. If, in addition, different sauces such as Mango Chutney are used, the mixture is very tasty. But these are just a few examples; there are thousands of possibilities to pair the best culinary creations with Garnacha/Grenache from PDOs in the North-East of Spain: Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano, Terra Alta and the South of France: Banyuls, Banyuls Grand Cru, Collioure, Côtes du Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, Côtes du Roussillon Villages les Aspres, Maury Sec and Doux, Rivesaltes and 2 IGP (Côtes Catalanes and de la Côte Vermeille).

Well-known among restaurant customers

Garnacha/Grenache grapes have become one of the ultimate pairing staples: “They have become very well known among our clientele and have taken hold in the marketplace,” says Nancy Selzer, managing partner of Tarry Lodge and Michelin-starred Casa Mono/Bar Jamón in New York. “I think they’ve had a remarkable rise in public awareness because of the many affordable options and elaborations available,” she adds.

The light whites are perfect with summer salads or scallop risotto while the fuller-bodied whites, pair well with fried chicken, pork, fresh seafood, rice, or pasta salads.

As for the Garnacha rosés, they are excellent with grilled tuna, chicken salad or all kinds of cold meats. “We are facing a great opportunity for Garnacha Blanca and rosé wines”, says Juan Gómez Master Sommelier and wine director of the Breakers Hotel, FL.  While sparkling wines from the Cariñena, Cava and Campo de Borja appellations combine deliciously with sushi, desserts, and fresh fruit.

Fortified wines made from European Grenache put the finishing touch to any meal. These unique wines can be red, white, rosé or Ambré (amber) and Tuilé (tawny colored), and range from young, dense and unctuous versions to spicy and nutty wines bottled after long oxidative ageing. Whether sweet and candied or refined, with coffee, toffee, and cocoa flavors, they are delicious on their own or can accompany wonderful recipes for sweet & salted or sweet & sour association, a majority of cheese, delicious desserts, playing on the colors and tastes (sweet creams, chocolate, caramel, candied tropical fruits…).Those wines can be also a good alternative to the spirits, for instance, at the end of the meal or in front the fire-place…

In conclusion, Grenache has innumerable culinary possibilities because “it has many incredible expressions,” according to Betsy Andrews of Food & Wine.

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