Gamay vs Grenache

HueBright red to violetRuby to Garnet
AromasRed berries, banana, floralRed fruit, herbs, spices
AcidMedium to highMedium
Alcohol (%)12-13%13%-15%
BodyLight to mediumMedium to full
IntensityMediumMedium to high
Key Growing RegionsBeaujolais (France)Spain, France, Australia
Classic PairingsPork, grilled sausages, charcuterieTapas, Mediterranean cuisine,
roasted vegetables
Price Range$10-$25+$10-$25+

Comparing Gamay vs Grenache is logical. These two red wines have much in common.

Both Gamay and Gamay share red fruit. Gamay is lighter in body and tannin with floral notes. Grenache has medium tannins and typically more alcohol.

TL;DR: If you like either Gamay or Grenache, then you should try the other wine, too. They’re similar.

Grenache Basics: Bountiful Red Fruit

what's grenache taste like infographic - grenache vs gamay

Grenache, known as Garnacha in some regions of Spain, is recognized for its unique and approachable character. Its origins can be traced to Spain, and it has gained prominence worldwide.

Grenache offers a medium to full body with distinctive flavors. It is often associated with red fruit notes, a touch of herbal nuances, and a hint of spiciness. Its moderate tannin levels make it an appealing option for a variety of palates.

Fun Wine Fact: Grenache is often used in blends with Syrah and Mourvedre – you’ll see this as “GSM” on the label, or Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre.

Gamay: Easy-drinking Red

what's gamay wine taste like infographic - gamay vs grenache

From the Beaujolais region of France just south of Pinot Noir’s Burgundy, most everyday Gamay wines have a lively and fruit-forward flavor profile. It offers juicy red fruit flavors, including cherry and cranberry, with a subtle hint of sweetness. The wine’s moderate acidity adds a refreshing and vibrant quality to the overall taste. Gamay’s tannins are soft and gentle, contributing to its smooth and easy-drinking nature. Check out this full post on Gamay wine.

Fun Fact: Gamay’s earned a reputation as being the first wine of the new harvest season. It goes by the term: Beaujolais Nouveau. Here’s why Beaujolais Nouveau’s so famous.

Wine Comparison: Gamay vs Grenache

Here’s a quick side-by-side that covers the most common styles of Gamay and Grenache wine.

Gamay Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Gamay is typically made as a dry table wine.
  • Alcohol: Gamay will have medium alcohol, often a little lower than Grenache
  • Acid: Gamay wines medium to medium plus acid, similar to Grenache, or a little higher.
  • Body: Gamay is a lighter-bodied red wine, lighter than Grenache
  • Tannin: Expect your Gamay to have low tannins, making it a friendly, approachable wine, often lower than Grenache.
  • Flavors: Gamay forefront ripe red fruit, like raspberry, strawberry, and cherry. Expect a distinctive floral note. Depending on the winemaking style, you may get cola, banana, or even bubblegum.

Grenache Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Grenache wines tend to be on the drier side, encompassing a spectrum from dry to off-dry.
  • Alcohol: Grenache wines typically have a moderate to high alcohol content, ranging from around 13% to 14.5% ABV.
  • Acid: Grenache has medium acid, a little lower than Gamay wines.
  • Body: Grenache is known for its medium to full body. You may come across lighter, fruit-forward styles, too. Read those labels!
  • Tannins: Grenache showcases moderate tannin levels, contributing to a balanced mouthfeel.
  • Flavors and Aroma Intensity: Grenache is characterized by intense red fruit notes with herbal and spicy undertones.

Are Gamay and Grenache Similar?

Yes, Gamay and Grenache red wines are similar. They share red fruit and medium alcohol. Depending on the style, they can both be medium-bodied with medium alcohol. This will make the wines taste similar. Both wines cost about the same for similar quality levels.

What Is the Difference Between Gamay and Grenache?

Gamay has a distinctive floral note that Grenache doesn’t have. Grenache can have an herbal quality. Gamay is usually lighter in body and tannin than Grenache.

Gamay vs Grenache Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

grenache vs gamay - salad

Thanks to their shared structural profile and flavors, Gamay and Grenache pair well with the same cuisines. Look to dishes that can use a little brightening up, like risotto, salads, and roasted white meats (e.g., turkey, pork loin, chicken, white beans).

Both Gamay and Grenache are best enjoyed at a slightly cool temperature. Place them in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Note: You may need to decant both Gamay and Grenache if they are made in a fuller-bodied style. If your wine seems closed when you first take a sip, give it a good swirl or let it sit for about 10 minutes to see if it opens up.

Which Is More Expensive, Gamay vs Grenache?

Gamay and Grenache differ in price points on the export market.

QualityPrice RangePrice Range
Gamay$12 – $25$25 – $40+
Grenache$10 – $25$25 – $40+

Producers craft Gamay and Grenache in the extreme-value price band. You can find both under $5 USD. Moving up the quality ladder, these two wines are similarly priced. Both Grenache and Gamay are prolific in the vineyard and undergo similar treatments in the winery, so this isn’t a surprise.

Helpful Tip: Here’s how a bottle of wine gets priced. This post is a little nerdy, but it’s quite complicated and nuanced depending on where you are in the world and where you’re buying your wine.

Which Is Better, Gamay or Grenache?

If you prefer a more fruit-driven, uncomplicated wine with floral and candied notes, then Gamay is the better choice. If you like a medium-bodied red wine with more tannins, herbs, and maybe even a little spice, then Grenache is the better choice.

Personal Note: I’m more of a Grenache fan and don’t seek out Gamay, but many of my friends do.

Final Thoughts – Gamay or Grenache?

Gamay and Grenache are fruit-forward wines that showcase bright red berry flavors. If you like one, you’ll probably enjoy the other.

These two wines are best compared side-by-side, more so than most. Grab two bottles of similarly priced Gamay and Grenache, invite a few friends over, and enjoy an evening of swirling and sipping.

Thirsty for More?

Here’s a guide on how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Malbec vs Pinot Noir another popular strong red wine, along with Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Merlot.

You can discover delicious wines at every price point. Explore this post on finding great red wines under $50.

What Grape Is Barolo?

What Grape Is Barolo?

Dolcetto vs Barbera: Comparison Chart

Dolcetto vs Barbera: Comparison Chart

Dolcetto Wine Guide

Dolcetto Wine Guide