Price $257.00 (not $350.00)
Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in the Barossa Valley and Spain, where the grape most likely originated. With its ideal climate and wealth of old vines, grenache is one of the Barossa’s key red wine varieties. Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines and in Australia, it is typically blended in "GSM" blends with Shiraz and Mourvèdre.
Grenache was one of the first varieties to be introduced to Australia in the 18th century by James Busby who is regarded as the "father" of the Australian wine industry, as he brought the first collection of vine stock from Spain and France to Australia.
A clone from Spain arrived in Australia with James Busby in his 1832 collection and was planted in South Australia. A decade later in 1844, Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold introduced new Grenache cuttings from the South of France to South Australia.
In the late 19th century, the phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards for wine grapes in Europe, most notably in France. Australia was spared this epidemic and so now has some of the oldest original plantings of wine grapes in the world, including Grenache, thanks to James Busby and Christopher Penfold.
Grenache was originally used in fortified wines and gradually fell out of favour in the 1960s being supplanted by Shiraz and later Cabernet Sauvignon in Australian vineyards when there was a shift to dry wines. The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a revival of interest in Grenache with old vine plantings in South Australia being used to produce varietal Grenache as well as a "GSM"-Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre-blends becoming popular.
Grenache is usually characterised by candied fruit and cinnamon and spice flavours with aromas of orange rind, raspberry, plum, and tobacco with balanced tannins, and medium acidity. As Grenache ages, the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavours.
The Grenache vine is characterized by its strong wood canopy and upright growth. The vine buds early and requires a long growing season in order to fully ripen. Grenache is often one of the last grapes to be harvested, often ripening weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon. The long ripening process allows the sugars in the grape to reach high levels, making Grenache-based wines capable of substantial alcohol levels.
Grenache prefers hot, dry soils that are well-drained, but it is relatively adaptable to all vineyard soil types. The strong wood canopy of Grenache makes the vine difficult to harvest with mechanical harvesters and pruning equipment, and more labour-intensive to cultivate. In highly mechanized wine regions, such as Australia and California, this has contributed to a decline in the vine's popularity as a commercial wine.
However, as we seek out wines that are “handcrafted” by small and family-owned wineries that often use manual methods for picking the fruit and processing, we have found some Barossa Valley Grenache gems for you that are fabulous examples of straight Grenache and the Rhone Blend of Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre. They are:
Three of the winemakers featured in this collection have been awarded the prestigious Barossa Valley Winemaker of the Year. Try these wines and you will understand why.