WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

20 September 2012

Australia: Grenache and 'Med reds'

Turkey Flat Grenache
from  turkeyflat.com.au
Friday 21 September is International Grenache Day, so here's my special topical report!
Besides straight Shiraz (click there to browse recent post immediately below this one), or sometimes blended with a small dollop of Viognier, there's also an exciting, and logical, trend in Australia towards making 'Rhone' or 'Mediterranean' style red varietals and cocktails, with increasing interest in planting more e.g. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese varieties in certain hot regions. This isn't totally new of course, given that there are a few plots of 100+ year-old Shiraz and Grenache still standing and producing in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale (see wines below e.g. d'Arenberg and click here to read about that in my Aus Grenache report last year). What I call Mediterranean varietals and blends, for the sake of argument and in addition to Grenache and Shiraz/Syrah, includes Mourvèdre aka Mataro or Monastrell, which some winemakers are really getting to grips with, on its own or in a mix with S and G. While other wineries are experimenting further with Spanish grapes such as Tempranillo, or Italian imports like SangioveseI've also thrown in a delicious Port style fortified wine from Grant Burge, which does fit neatly into my hot Med/Rhone red category being unashamedly GMS, even if it's nothing like the others... Retail prices are for Ireland in euros; many of them will be available in the UK, North America etc.

Barossa Valley

Yalumba 2009 Bush Vine Grenache - enticing ripe liquorice tinged nose with peppery edges, quite soft mouth-feel with savoury vs 'sweet' fruit, dry tannins and a bit of kick on the finish but it doesn't really show up. €18-€20
Two Hands Wines 2010 Yesterday's Hero Grenache - herby berry vs spicy/sweet liquorice aromas, tasty juicy fruity palate with power and grip; delicious stuff. €30
Turkey Flat 2009 Grenache - savoury and leather tones vs 'sweet' liquorice and spice, concentrated and weighty with nice grip, meaty vs ripe flavours, rich vs dry finish. +€20
Two Hands Wines 2010 Brave Faces Grenache Shiraz Mataro - attractive 'sweet' berry fruit, spicy and soft with punchy length, dry vs ripe lingering flavours. €27
Turkey Flat 2010 Butcher's Block Red (Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre, 14.5% alc) - subtle oak layered with lovely ripe blackberry/cherry fruit and savoury black olive notes too, soft and juicy mouth-feel then finishing firmer and punchy, bitter twist vs 'sweet'/savoury flavours; different. €15-€18
Turkey Flat 2007 Mourvèdre - browning colour with meaty wild black olive hints, powerful and chunky mouth-feel vs concentrated and lush, attractive herby bitter twist too; old-fashioned 'Bandol' style! +€20
Grant Burge 10 Year Old Tawny (Grenache Mourvèdre Shiraz, 19% alc) - complex Port (or 'red Madeira' even!) style with dried berry and caramel aromas, oily maturing nutty flavours vs sweet dried fruits vs punchy finish. Lovely fortified wine. €20+ 
John Duval 2006 'Plexus' Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre - minty vs savoury nose, mature vs solid palate, still quite tight vs smoky flavoured on the finish; fairly understated actually. €20+

McLaren Vale

d'Arenberg 2009 Stump Jump GSM - smoky savoury nose, chunky yet mature palate, oxidising a bit vs some oomph left on the finish. €10-€12
d'Arenberg 2007 d'Arry's Original GSM - mature nose with 'tar' and leather tones, savoury vs lush dark berry and spice flavours, concentrated chunky grippy finish; lovely wilder style with power vs enticing maturing savoury side. €18-€20

Willunga 100 2010 Grenache - a bit 'reductive' on the nose, moves on to juicy 'sweet' liquorice fruit vs dry grip, dark peppery and lush with bitter chocolate twist, taut and firm finish; needs time to open up. €12-€15

Victoria

Brown Brothers 2010 Dolcetto & Syrah (10% alc) - perfumed 'Nouveau' nose with cherry and cassis fruit, lightly frothy 'frizzante' style with a bit of sugar and lively cherry finish; refreshingly different! €10-€12
Brown Brothers 2010 Tempranillo (14.5%) - slightly earthy nose, perfumed and creamy red and black fruit palate, turning more 'sweet/savoury' with firm and dry vs drinking well finish. Nice 'Med' style. €10-€12

Western Australia - Margaret River

McHenry Hohnen 2007 Three Amigos red (SGM) - smoky meaty developed nose vs ripe berry and cinnamon, has a bit of oomph and subtle concentration vs soft tannins and enticing maturing 'sweet/savoury' fruit finish. Good stuff. €20+

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