As a Barossan winemaker with a large portion of my wine portfolio made up of Shiraz, you would not be alone in thinking that Shiraz was my ‘red wine of choice’. Certainly, with the diversity of the Barossan terroir and its effect on Shiraz, this varietal is something I thoroughly enjoy making (& drinking) However, as International Grenache Day is here, I find it appropriate to sit and write about my true red wine passion, Grenache – or Garnacha if you’re Spanish!
“Thiele Road Grenache vineyards – Bud Burst! “
There are so many variations to Grenache, which is probably what is most intriguing to me. I love its adaptability to change with the soil and area it is grown in and the Grenache vines are something of a marvel. The old, gnarly vines are so interesting and the way they sit up, erect off the ground always catches my attention. They’re quite fascinating to look at, even when bare, and seem to have such stories to tell. With some of the oldest Grenache vines around the Barossa I’ve no doubt they’ve seen a thing or two!
The complexity and structure of Grenache can be so varied depending on where it is grown, the winemaking techniques used and the age of the vines that you often never know quite what you are going to get. An unsung hero of wine, Grenache has long been overlooked and underestimated. Most commonly known for its beautiful blending features & as the backbone for many red varietals such as GSM, Grenache, providing aromatic spiciness, dark cherries & raspberries adds a complexity and delicacy to this popular blend. However, with juicy supple tannins, delicious aromas of wild strawberries, cherries and liquorice and its dangerous drinkability, Grenache has built itself a reputation in the single varietal category.
Grenache fruit really speaks to me on a winemaking level. It’s hugely resilient to Australian conditions and very drought tolerant as it grows at its best with limited access to water. It thrives on showing its natural characteristics and with my low intervention winemaking style, I’m truly able to let the fruit speak for itself. My winemaking style has evolved over the years and this is certainly reflective in how I make Grenache today. I’m passionate about retaining as much of the vineyard characteristics in the fruit as possible so that my wines are a true reflection of what Grenache is capable of producing.
With so many Grenache day celebrations happening around the world today, I hope you will have the opportunity to enjoy some delicious Grenache!