Grenache vs Pinot Noir

grenache vs pinot noir wine comparison infographic

Both Grenache and Pinot Noir share red fruit, softer tannins, and medium alcohol. Grenache has a fuller body with herbs. Pinot Noir has earthy notes and is more intense. Pinot Noir tends to be more complex and more expensive than Grenache.

TL;DR: If you like either Grenache or Pinot Noir, then you should try the other wine, too. They have much in common.

Pinot Noir Basics: Liquid Elegance

what's pinot noir taste like - pinot noir vs grenache

Pinot Noir is originally from the Burgundy region of France and today you’ll find wines made from Pinot Noir made around the world, including Oregon, California, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Pinot Noir is an aromatic red wine grape known for its red cherry and cranberry aromas, along with a floral profile. (Check out this comprehensive guide to Pinot Noir wines.)

Fun Wine Fact: Pinot Noir can go be Red Burgundy. If you ask for a Red Burgundy at a restaurant or wine shop, you’ll get a Pinot Noir.

Grenache Basics: Red Fruit Bomb

what's grenache taste like infographic - grenache vs pinot noir

Grenache, known as Garnacha in some regions, 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.

Wine Comparison: Grenache vs Pinot Noir

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

CharacteristicsGrenachePinot Noir
HueMedium rubyPale to medium ruby
AromasRed fruits, herbs, spiceRed berries, cherry, earth
AcidMediumMedium to high
Alcohol (%)13-15%12-15%
BodyMedium to fullLight to medium
IntensityMedium to pronouncedModerate to pronounced
Key Growing RegionsSpain, France, AustraliaBurgundy (France), Oregon, California
Classic PairingsTapas, Mediterranean cuisine,
roasted vegetables
Poultry, lamb, grilled salmon
Price Range$10-$30$15-$60

Grenache vs Pinot Noir are fun wines to compare because they can seem so similar.

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, a little higher than Pinot Noir, ranging from around 13% to 14.5% ABV.
  • Acid: Grenache has medium acid, often a little lower than Pinot Noir.
  • 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.
  • Flavor: Grenache is characterized by intense red fruit notes with herbal and spicy undertones. The flavor profile often includes raspberry, red currant, cherry, herbs, and a touch of spiciness.

Pinot Noir Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Pinot Noir is almost always made in a dry style unless it is an inexpensive bulk wine
  • Alcohol: Pinot Noir wines typically feature moderate alcohol content, around 12%-14% ABV
  • Acid: Pinot Noir tends to have medium to medium (+) acid, a little higher than Grenache.
  • Body: Pinot Noir is lighter in body, medium or medium (-)
  • Tannins: Pinot Noir tends to low to medium tannins that are silky like Grenache.
  • Flavor: Vibrant red fruit flavors like cranberry, raspberry, and red cherry, accompanied by floral notes and sometimes even a wet earth and tea leaf.

Are Grenache and Pinot Noir Similar?

Yes, Grenache and Pinot Noir wines are similar. They share similar red fruit. like red cherry, medium alcohol, and softer tannins. All of these will make the wines taste similar.

What Is the Difference Between Grenache and Pinot Noir

Grenache will often have a fuller body than Pinot Noir, along an herbal quality. Grenache will often be higher in alcohol than most Pinot Noir wines. Pinot Noir has a distinctive forest floor, or mushroom quality to it. Pinot Noir is often more expensive than Grenache for wines of similar quality level. Pinot Noir is often more aromatic than Grenache wine.

Grenache vs Pinot Noir Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

pork roast - gamay vs pinot noir wine

Thanks to their shared structural profile and flavors, Grenache and Pinot Noir 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).

Discover More: Pinot Noir Cheese Pairing Guide

Both Grenache and Pinot Noir 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 Grenache and Pinot Noir 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, Grenache vs Pinot Noir?

Gamay and Pinot Noir differ in price points on the export market.

QualityPrice RangePrice Range
Grenache$10 – $25$25 – $40+
Pinot Noir$15 – $30$40 – $100+

Producers craft Grenache and Pinot Noir in the extreme-value price band. You can find both under $5 USD. Moving up the quality ladder, Pinot Noir tends to be slightly higher priced than Grenache due to more difficult conditions in the vineyard and winery.

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, Grenache or Pinot Noir?

If you prefer a red wine with more body and noticeable tannins, then Grenache is the better wine. If you like intensely aromatic wines with red fruit and earth, then Pinot Noir may be a better option. If you enjoy Grenache or Pinot Noir, you’ll likely enjoy the other wine, too.

Personal Note: I’m a big fan of Grenache wines used in blends that give them more body and structure. If I want a fruit-forward, bright red wine, I tend to enjoy Pinot Noir more.

Final Thoughts – Grenache or Pinot Noir?

pinot noir - grenache vs pinot noir
Check out this lovely ruby Pinot Noir.

Both Grenache and Pinot Noir share a similar wine profile. They have that juicy red fruit and easy-drinking nature that many newer wine drinkers enjoy. You really can’t go wrong with either one.

These two wines are best compared side-by-side, more so than most. Grab two bottles of similarly priced Grenache and Pinot Noir, 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