Grenache gris is a pinkish-grey mutation of the red grenache grape and is grown to a limited extent in the south of France, but also in South Africa. Little research has been conducted into the history of grenache gris and the variety remains in relative obscurity. It tends to appear in the vineyard only among other grenache bush vines and is often indiscriminately blended into other wines.
Like its family members grenache noir and grenache blanc, grenache gris is vigorous, resistant to drought and prefers warm, dry environments … like in South Africa
Varietal wines made from grenache gris are something of a rarity and a winemaker’s indulgence, since there is little commercial gain to be made from producing them, or so it has been believed for a long time. The wines tend to show apricot and stonefruit aromas with a full, sometimes oily palate. In this way they are similar to viognier, minus the lavender and herbaceous notes that make viognier so distinctive.
Food matches for Grenache Gris include escargots with garlic butter, Maryland crab cakes and smoked-eel terrine.
If you are on wine’s wonderful journey of discovery, look out for local wines made from grenache gris, like Fram, Momento and Leeuwenkuil … and enjoy the journey!