26 Grenaches: International Grenache Day Tasting Review 2014

26 Grenaches: International Grenache Day Tasting Review 2014
26 Grenaches: International Grenache Day Tasting Review 2014

26 South Australian Grenache’s from 2012 – 2014 in the space of an hour.

Not a bad tasting effort!

McLaren Vale is famous for many things. Its’ Mediterranean climate. Sea, trees and vines. Prime produce, restaurants, farmers markets. 

Perhaps most famous, the reputation for Shiraz, Grenache and emerging Mediterranean wine varieties.

Enter the annual International Grenache Day. A simultaneous, worldwide day of celebration of the grape. 

Each year in the Vale, International Grenache Day is celebrated with a public wine tasting scheduled for a Friday evening.

View from the Shiraz Trail on the way from Willunga to Serafino.
Photo: Willunga Wino

This year, Serafino’s beautiful McLaren Vale winery & cellar door hosted a thirsty public, keen to taste the as many Grenache’s as possible and to then select a favourite. 

Gorgeous Serafino at twilight. Photo: Wilunga Wino

This year’s event was themed “Taste & Tweet” with the official hashtags of #mclarenvale and #grenacheday


Taste and Tweet, left. Serafino’s restaurant entrance, right.
 Photo: Wilunga Wino

A Grenache masterclass hosted by Aussie wine guru James Halliday was also held in the morning. 

In true trade/show tasting style, all the entrant’s wines are set out on long trestle tables with plenty of spittoons, and punters are able to pour at leisure. 

No queuing, no waiting. 


 Some of the contenders. Photo: Wilunga Wino

If nothing else, with this many grenaches on tasting, from different regions, sub regions, and years, the diversity of this grape and the kinds of wines produced from it in South Australia is revealed. 

Some are light, rasberry-Redskin fruit driven.

Some are dark, earthy, tannic.

And so, to the wines.

1. Schwartz Wine Co “Meta” Grenache 2012 ($35 cellar door) 

Representing the Barossa, this was the first wine of the night. 

Nice light cherry nose, which follows through on the palate, a bit like a Pinot, but with more spice and plumminess on the back palate.

Schwartz Wine Co “Meta” Grenache 2012 Photo: Wilunga Wino

2. Shaw Family Vitners “Rusty Plough” Single Vineyard Grenache 2012 ($50 cellar door)

Representing McLaren Vale, this Grenache featured savoury flavours, with dried fruit like sultana, and spice characterised my tasting of this wine. Dense rich and flavoursome.

 Shaw Family Vitners “Rusty Plough” Single Vineyard Grenache 2012. Photo: Wilunga Wino

3. Brini Estate Grenache 2012

Brini Estate grow their Grenache in Blewitt Springs, a sub-region of McLaren Vale. 

The 2012 Grenache is a combination between the dense Shaw, but not as light as the Schwartz.

 Brini Estate Grenache 2012. Photo: Wilunga Wino

4. Serafino Reserve Grenache 2012 ($40 cellar door)

Made with McLaren Vale fruit, this a full bodied wine. A nice acid line that will further settle with age. 


Serafino Reserve Grenache 2012. Photo: Wilunga Wino

5. Lost Buoy Cliff Block Grenache 2012

Formerly Lions Point Wines – after the beautiful coastal McLaren Vale location of the vineyards, until Lion forced the name change to Lost Buoy, which is just as descriptive.

Sweet lemon pith on the nose.

Classic waxy red fruit palate follows through.


 Lost Buoy Cliff Block Grenache 2012. Photo: Wilunga Wino

6. Kilikanoon “Prodigal” Grenache 2012 ($33 cellar door & online)

Representing old vine, Clare Valley fruit.

Nice balance on the nose and on the palate between sweet red fruit and savoury barn yard characters, which gives you a lot to think about while tasting.

One of Mr Wino’s favourites of the night, though he may be a little biased having worked a vintage at Kilikanoon in 2010.

 Kilikanoon “Prodigal” Grenache 2012 Photo: Wilunga Wino

7. Pertaringa Two Gentlemans Grenache 2012 ($22 cellar door & online)

Part of the Geoff Hardy stable of labels, with Ian Leask making up the second gentleman.

Representing McLaren Vale.

Yeasty fruit cake aromas deepen into soft tanins and vanillan oak flavours – so far the oakiest of the evening.

 Pertaringa Two Gentlemans Grenache 2012. Photo: Wilunga Wino

8. Rudderless 2012 Grenache (Pre-release, likely $35)

Representing McLaren Vale’s sub region of Sellicks Hill, right near Doug Govan’s institution the Victory Hotel.

Sweet red fruit on the nose and following through to the palate. Very drinkable as a young wine.

9. Schild Estate Edgar Schild Reserve Grenache 2012 ($50 cellar door & online)

Representing the Barossa Valley, from old bush vines located high on the eastern hills overlooking  Rowland Flat, in the Southern Barossa.

Needed a good shake in the glass to get some oxygen into it and release the dark mushroomy, savoury olive aromas. Follows through on the palate and finishes soft.

Rudderless 2012 Grenache (left)
Schild Estate Edgar Schild Reserve Grenache 2012 (right)
Photo: Wilunga Wino

10.  Mr Riggs “The Magnet” Grenache 2012 9$27 cellar door and online)

Plummy and spiced nose with smooth palate and well balanced tannin & acid. Quite nice! 

  Mr Riggs “The Magnet” Grenache 2012 Photo: Wilunga Wino

11. La Curio Reserve Grenache 2012 ($27 cellar door or online)

(Disclaimer – we’re friends with winemaker Adam Hooper)

Nice legs on this number. It’s a big boy, with red fruit on the nose and savoury oakiness on the palate, with grippy tanin and crunchy acid.  

 La Curio Reserve Grenache 2012 Photo: Wilunga Wino

12. Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Bush Vine Grenache 2012 ($35 online and cellar door)

This one is a good one! 

The nose has a nice mix of red fruits and dark savouriness, with a full palate and grippy tannin. 

 Photo: Wilunga Wino

13. Greenock Creek Wines Cornerstone Grenache 2012 ($31.50 cellar door & online retailers)

Representing the Barossa, this old vine grenache has a fresh & vibrant redskins nose and medium body.

14. Ess & See Grenache No.1 2012 ($25 online or cellar door)

(Disclaimer – Mr Wino works at McLaren Vale Winemakers)

This drop is dryer on the finish than many of the others tried tonight, making it more versatile as a food-wine.

 Ess & See Grenache No. 1  Photo: Wilunga Wino

A quick break and we sample the generous cheese platters dotted around the room.

Cheese, please. Photo: Wilunga Wino

The generous platters included grissini, dried fruit, roasted almonds, olives and fruit paste.

Then it’s back to it!

15. Tscharke Marananga Gnadenfrei Vineyard Grenache 2013 (#35 cellar door)

This drop represents the Barossa.

A dark, barnyard nose blows off after time in the glass to reveal more blue fruits.

 Marananga Gnadenfrei Vineyard Grenache 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

16. Kalleske Old Vine Grenache Single Vineyard Biodynamic 2013 ($45 online and cellar door)

Polished red licorice nose with spice.

Delish musky rose & vanilla long palate.

 Kalleske Old Vine Grenache Single Vineyard Biodynamic 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

17. Head Old Vine Grenache 2013 ($32 online retailers)

Dark nose with long vanillan palate with a bit of grip and freshening acid.

 Head Old Vine Grenache 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

18. Head Ancestor Vine Grenache 2013 ($95 and rare)

Representing the Eden Valley, and one of the oldest known parcels of grenache – 1858.

A one word review seems appropriate given how impressed we were.


 Head Ancestor Vine Grenache 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

19. The Hundred Grenache 2013 ($30 online)

From the Willunga 100 winery, representing the Blewitt Springs sub region of McLaren Vale.

Perfumed with musk and spice, the palate is red fruit driven and structured for spicy food.

20. Three Dark Horses Grenache 2013 ($24 online)

Lifted red cherry nose.

Not acid not tannic, bit of sherbert fizz on the tongue.

Three Dark Horses Grenache 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

21. Whistler Wines Grenache 2014

Representing the Barossa Valley.

On the nose, bath salts, plummy redskins in a bath.

Light, fresh, fregrant, and so very drinkable. Love that style.

Whistler Wines Grenache 2014 Photo: Wilunga Wino

22. Kalleske Clarry’s GSM 2014 ($20 cellar door and online)

Representing the Barossa Valley.

Dark colour, 10% Shiraz, smoky charry undertones.

Smells like onions on the BBQ.

  Kalleske Clarry’s GSM 2014 Photo: Wilunga Wino

23. Handcrafted by Geoff Hardy GSM 2013 ($30 online & cellar door)

Hint of mint on the nose.

Lean but grainy tannins have bite that’ll integrating in years to come.

 Handcrafted by Geoff Hardy GSM 2013 Photo: Wilunga Wino

24. Tscharke Estate Blend GSM 2012 ($22 online and cellar door)

Representing the Barossa Valley.

 Tscharke Estate Blend GSM 2012 Photo: Wilunga Wino

25. Three Dark Horses GT 2014

18 months in French oak, this intruiging Grenache Touriga blend with a spicy palate.

Three Dark Horses GT 2014 Photo: Wilunga Wino
Quite the marathon of grenache – time for nourishment of the food kind. Luckily, the paella was being run out the door – for free! 

Serfino’s gift to us. Photo: Willunga Wino

Chorizo and chicken in massive portions.

That’s a generous portion. Photo: Willunga Wino

Robs Squared – that is – Rob Cragg of Maxwells and Rob Mack of McLaren Vale Winemakers – made short work of theirs.
Rob’s Squared. 
Cragg (left, Maxwells) 
Mack (right, McLaren Vale Winemakers).
Photo: Willunga Wino

Then, I was lucky enough to have a moment with one of Australia’s wine legends – the one and only James Haliday! That’s me on the right and Rob Cragg of Maxwells on the left.

A special moment with a legend! Photo: Willunga Wino

Just to round off the evening, we squeezed in a nightcap.

26. Lot Thirteen Grenache 2010 ($30)

Hint of mint on the nose.

Lot Thirteen Grenache 2010. Photo: Willunga Wino

The annual International Grenache Day tasting is something to look forward to every year. 

It’s truly unique and an amazing tasting event. 


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