What is the healthiest red wine?

Author: Michelle Gadd   Date Posted:10 July 2024 

Map of SardegnaI recently came across an interesting article about the longevity of people in some regions of Sardinia, whose love for their Cannonau di Sardegna – the local name for Grenache – is attributed as part of the reason.

This piqued my interest, as I often get customers asking - “What’s the healthiest red wine?” or “Which wine has the most resveratrol?” While it’s tempting to raise our glasses in celebration of wine’s potential health benefits, I always tread carefully here, as I’m a wine professional and not a health professional.

Some studies suggest that moderate wine consumption—especially red wine—may contribute to heart health. The antioxidants in red wine, such as resveratrol, could play a protective role. However, this doesn’t mean we should guzzle bottles with bacchanalian abandon. The key phrase is moderation, and this generalisation needs to be tempered by individual circumstances.

Map of SardegnaHaving made that disclaimer, I thought the “health” aspect would be interesting to include while taking a more general look at Grenache wines. The problem with trying to choose the “healthiest”, is which criteria to use. Is it resveratrol levels or other heart-healthy flavonoids?

Do you take into consideration alcohol, calories, sugar, histamines, tannins, preservatives and acid? How do you rank each of the criteria? Especially when, for some people, they would be a positive factor, and for others they may be a negative - e.g. histamine or preservative sensitivity.

Arguments can be made for quite a few other red wines, but the other contender I've often seen referenced is Pinot Noir. It, too, has recorded higher levels of antioxidants (attributed partly to its thin skins), lower in tannins & histamines. It is generally lower in alcohol – hence lower calories – and less likely to cause heartburn. 

But, we will leave a discussion on Pinot Noir for another day, and move forward with our exploration of Grenache. I’ve listed links at the bottom of this article if you want to dig a bit deeper into some of the research and topics touched on.

 

Grenache, also known as Garnacha in Spain, is a versatile red grape variety that has made its mark in various wine regions around the world. Let’s get to know this grape and its fermented products a little better.

 

Origins of Grenache:

Grenache Grapes

  • Grenache most likely originated in the region of Aragon in northern Spain. From there, it spread to Catalonia, Sardinia, and Roussillon in southern France. It has been popular in the Southern Rhône since the 17th century, where it was mostly used as a blending grape with Syrah (Shiraz), Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsaut and others.
  • The grape’s likeability comes from its full body, high alcohol levels, and sensation of sweetness. Plump red fruits, black cherry, baking spices, and a hint of white pepper often characterise Grenache

 

One of the First Grapes in Australia

  • Grenache was one of the original grape varieties imported into NSW by James Busby in 1832 when serious viticulture began in Australia. From New South Wales, Grenache found its way to South Australia, where the warm, dry conditions closely resembled its Mediterranean home.
     
  • From the mid-1920s to the 1960s, Grenache was a main component of the sweet, fortified wines that were the lynchpin of the early Australian wine industry. It was the country's most widely planted red wine grape variety until the mid-1960’s, when the industry shifted towards table wines, and Shiraz took over as the dominant red variety.
     
  • Grenache has experienced a resurgence more recently, thanks to efforts by Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Clare Valley growers. Here, the classic Rhone Valley blend of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre (GSM) has blossomed, forging its own unique identity due to the local terroir. It’s a bold and vibrant style, with a lovely synergy from the three varietals, summarised by:
     
    1. Grenache giving seductive aromatics, red fruit flavours and subtle white pepper.
    2. Shiraz being bold and beautiful, with black fruit notes, structure, and a hint of spice.
    3. Mourvèdre (also known as Mataro) adds the mystery, with depth and complexity.
       
  • Today, Australia boasts some of the world’s oldest continuously producing Grenache vines, making world-class straight varietal wines and beautifully balanced blends.

 

Health Benefits of Grenache:

  • In Sardinia (one of the so-called “Blue Zones” where people live longer), locals regularly consume Cannonau di Sardegna, the local name for Grenache, with most meals. It contains two to three times the amount of antioxidants compared to other red wines. Small doses of this antioxidant-rich beverage throughout the day may contribute to fewer heart attacks and lower stress levels. Remember, moderation is key, and one to two glasses per day is the sweet spot. Any more than that, and the health benefits start to move in the opposite direction.
     
  • Wine and Goats CheeseIt’s not just about what they drink; it’s how they consume it. Sardinians enjoy a Mediterranean diet, rich with simple unprocessed foods including fresh sheep and goat’s milk, cheeses made from these milks, fava (broad) beans and chickpeas, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, mirto, bottarga, pork, shellfish, game meats, and of course pasta. Meals are usually social occasions, surrounded by good friends and family, which of course helps with overall wellbeing.
     
  • These benefits are amplified when you choose certified organic, eliminating the chance of residual vineyard chemicals, and contributing to the health of the planet.

 

Pairing and Enjoyment:

 

Organic Grenache and Grenache Blends to Try

  • Lighter Styles – can be served slightly chilled, especially in summer

High Sands Grenache

  • Medium-bodied styles
    1. Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache: This blend of Shiraz and Grenache offers a dynamic combination with a decadent mouthfeel. Expect rich red fruit flavours and a touch of spice. It’s certified organic and biodynamic.
    2. Organic Hill Founders Preservative Free Grenache: A premium NASAA Certified Organic and biodynamically grown Grenache, specially made without added preservatives. It’s vibrant and expressive.
    3. Kalleske Clarry's Grenache Shiraz Mataro: Soft and fruit-driven with flavours of raspberry, perfume, clove and spice. A muscular structure and great length using old vine Grenache from the 1940s and 1960s.

 

Dive deeper into the topics:

  1. Resveratrol: A miraculous natural compound for diseases treatment
  2. Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
  3. 7 Health Benefits of Resveratrol Supplements
  4. Resveratrol: A Double-Edged Sword in Health Benefits
  5. The Healthiest Wine In The World:
  6. The Healthiest Red Wine, According to a Longevity Expert - Well+Good 
  7. What are the health benefits of drinking Grenache wine? 
  8. Wine and Longevity: How Wine Helps You Live Longer - Blue Zones 
  9. This Is The Absolute Healthiest Red Wine You Can Drink - The Daily Meal 

 

 


  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache 2022

Shiraz and Grenache together makes for such a dynamic blend and decadent mouthfeel. Shiraz bringing the mid palate weigh...

$18.88 in a straight 12 or $21.99 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Tscharke A Thing of Beauty Grenache 2021

Beautiful translucent ruby colour. The bouquet is both floral and fruity, with undertones of spices. Dewy rose petal, ch...

$25.25 in a straight 12 or $28.70 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Mesta Organic Grenache 2020

Expressive aromas of rich red cherries and hints of violet follow through with fleshy red plum, hints of liquorice, supp...

$15.82 in a straight 12 or $18.80 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Organic
Tscharke Elements Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2022

The nose is a charming – a medley of dark cherries, plum, and a touch of spice greet you, the first sip reveals a burst ...

$25.25 in a straight 12 or $28.70 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Yangarra Preservative Free Grenache 2022

A delicious medium-bodied Grenache from a premium McLaren Vale producer. Fruit-drive, young and vibrant with fresh red b...

$26.23 in a straight 12 or $30.00 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Angove Warboys Vineyard Grenache 2017

Brilliant bright red with a blueish tinge. Vibrant floral/violet characters on the nose with dark cherries and wild thym...

$61.38 in a straight 12 or $69.99 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Angove Warboys Vineyard Grenache 2018

Brilliant bright red with a blueish tinge. Vibrant floral/violet characters on the nose with dark cherries and wild thym...

$61.38 in a straight 12 or $69.99 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Kalleske Clarry's Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2023

Clarry’s is soft and fruit-driven with flavours of raspberry, perfume, clove and spice. It is mouth watering with a musc...

$23.76 in a straight 12 or $27.50 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Kalleske Old Vine Grenache 2019

This Old Vine Grenache is dark purple in colour and instantly engaging with aromas of musk, raspberry, lavender, violet ...

$48.51 in a straight 12 or $55.70 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Organic Hill Founders Preservative Free Grenache 2021

This super-premium NASAA Certified Organic and Bio-dynamically grown grenache is specially made Preservative Free. With ...

$34.65 in a straight 12 or $40.00 each

20% OFF
  • Vegan Suitable
  • No Added Preservative
  • Certified Organic
Rosnay Freedom Preservative Grenache 2023

This Grenache has pale ruby colour, clean aroma, fine tannin, and bright fruit reminiscent of fresh morello cherry. It w...

$21.56 in a straight 12 or $24.80 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Yangarra Hickinbotham Grenache 2019

This Grenache planted in 1962 is incredibly well-suited for any special occasion. Hand-picked on the 9th of March and me...

$67.60 in any 12 or $67.60 each

  • Vegan Suitable
  • Certified Biodynamic
  • Certified Organic
Yangarra Ovitelli Grenache 2020

Ovitelli is the most perfumed and elegant Grenache from the sands at Yangarra. The vibrant fruit of those dry grown 1946...

$83.80


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