Dan Traucki from Wine Assistant recently attended one of our Grenache appreciation evenings. Here’s what he had to say:
“I have written before about the amazing work that McLaren Vale growers are doing to identify and categorise the impact that their tumultuous geology has upon the flavours of their Shiraz (see Winestate Magazine, “Super Serious about Shiraz”, Sep-Oct 2017 Edition). Some of the “Valers” have also formed the “Fiano Fellowship” (see WBM, “The Fiano Fellowship”, Jan- Feb 2019 edition), to evaluate the region’s Fiano.
Now it looks like Grenache may be going to get a guernsey at the same caper, if the recent tasting conducted by McLaren Vale winery, Willunga 100, is any indication.
On a cold July evening Willunga 100 gathered a group of “Grenache Groupies” at the National Wine Centre for a, “Tasting & Tapas”, event in which the excellent Grenache from Willunga 100 were compared and contrasted to Grenache from around the world. Each flight was matched to an elegant, up-market tapas dish.
Five of the thirteen wines presented on the night were from Willunga 100 including the WILLUNGA 100 “THE TITHING” GRENACHE 2009 out of their museum. This wine was redolent with complex bottle maturation aromas, had a super smooth and silky palate with lashings of flavour and still after ten years had a hint of tightness on the finish. It was a brilliant food wine as well as a darn good drink on its own. The 2016 being the current vintage of “THE TITHING”, had the same inherent characteristics as its elder sibling but was younger, brighter and tighter. By comparing the two, one could see the longevity that awaits the current release as it elegantly matures over time.
The other Australian Grenache shown were the:
2018 YALUMBA BAROSSA BUSH VINE GRENACHE: A lighter, brighter “New Style” Grenache designed to appeal to younger wine drinkers.
2017 WILLUNGA “THE HUNDRED” CLARENDON GRENACHE: This was a big, rich, flavoursome wine with an attractive bouquet of spice and herbs, and delightful tight flavours that will evolve sensationally over time. The grapes for this wine come from 100-year-old Grenache vines.
2017 WILLUNGA “THE HUNDRED” BLEWITT SPRINGS GRENACHE: Showing its site-specific characters, it is slightly softer and gentler than its Clarendon kin, but more elegant and svelte.
2017 YANGARRA McLAREN VALE GRENACHE: Spicy aromas with a good dollop of dried herbs. A beautifully smooth, rich, round, sophisticated palate with a tight finish.
2017 HEAD WINE BAROSSA GRENACHE: A Deep and densely coloured wine with a hint of sweetness on the front palate and a tight, grippy finish.
2016 WILLUNGA 100 “THE HUNDRED” McLAREN VALE GRENACHE: A true “keeper” with a long and distinguished life in front of it.
The international Grenache wines that were shown were:
2017 Ventoux Rouge ‘Vox Caritatis’ from Southern Rhone (90% Grenache)
2016 Spice Route Swartland – South Africa
2016 Gigondas, Domaine des Bosquets (75% Grenache)
2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Chateau de Vaudieu (81% Grenache)
2016 Mas La Mola, ‘Vi d’Altura’ Priorat Spain
2015 El Coto Rioja Garnacha Crianza
A great feature that was shown was the “Grenache Language & Descriptors” chart. Personally, I think that if that was reduced to the “Body, Tannin & Acidity” scales, it could be added to the back labels of Grenache, just as Riesling producers today are adding the “Riesling Dryness Scale” to their wine back labels. This would make it easier for consumers to choose the right Grenache for them out of the “Traditional” style (bigger, richer wines) and the emerging “New Style” which are lighter not only in alcohol, but more importantly in flavour and character. Food for thought!
This delightful event showed that Willunga 100 have well and truly mastered the fine art of producing excellent Grenache. They have mastered the nuances of their different sites, as their wines were excellent.
It also demonstrated that great Aussie Grenache is “World-Class” as well as re-enforcing the fact that the variety is able to consistently produce great wines around the world, whether it is called GARNACHA or GRENACHE. Cheers!”
To read more from Dan Traucki visit http://www.wineassist.com.au/
The addition will strengthen BWA’s New World offering, which includes a handful of other carefully selected brands such as Carmen from Chile and Doña Paula from Argentina, alongside their very strong French, Spanish and Italian selections.
“We are very excited about the addition of Willunga 100 to our portfolio,” said Bruno Butragueno Managing Director of BWA. “We’ve been looking at high quality Australian wineries for a while and are thrilled to announce that Willunga 100 will join our portfolio. We plan to promote into Mainland China the modern McLaren Vale wines and premium cultural legacy of the winery. This new experience focused on high-quality Grenache represents a fantastic opportunity in this tantalising market.”
Willunga 100 is the brain child of founders David Gleave and John Ratcliffe, industry veterans and Australian wine devotees, passionate about the potential for outstanding wines from McLaren Vale. Their aim with Willunga 100 is to make modern expressions from this exceptionally diverse region with a focus on premium Grenache, the star grape of McLaren Vale.
Situated about 45 minute drive south of Adelaide in South Australia, McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate, with warm sunny days and cooling breezes from the nearby Gulf of St. Vincent, makes it perfect for grape growing. The 500 million year old soils are abundant and diverse giving a huge amount of depth and complexity to the wines.
Winemakers Mike Farmilo and Tim James have worked a combined sixty years in McLaren Vale and have established long and fruitful partnerships with local growers particularly in the superior sub-regions of Willunga, Clarendon and Blewitt Springs where fruit for the top wines is sourced.
“It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that we add China to our list of export markets,” said Willunga 100 Co-founder David Gleave. “As we embark on this new chapter for Willunga 100 I have no doubt that with BWA’s commitment to delivering top quality wine within China, we will finally be able to showcase the best that McLaren Vale can offer through our passion for Grenache.”
Importantly for penetrating the China market, impressive accolades abound for Willunga 100’s Grenache wines, which were all rated 93+ points by Australia’s most renowned wine critic James Halliday in his Australian Wine Companion 2018.
“Grenache’s natural sweet spice, fragrant perfume and soft tannin makes these wines the perfect accompaniment to an infinite array of Chinese dishes,” says Nimbility Founding Partner Polly Aylwin-Foster, “a very important factor for positioning these wines within the China on-trade where BWA excel. We are confident that the BWA team, led by Bruno, will deliver fantastic visibility and sommelier-advocacy which will be crucial to building the Willunga 100 brand in China.”
The opening selection that will be landing with BWA in mid-June will include:
McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier 2016
McLaren Vale Grenache 2016
The Tithing Grenache 2016
For more information about Willunga 100 in Asia please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 2018 Grenache Rosé received a delightful UK write up by Diana Thompson in her 'Top Picks' for Foodies Magazine.
"Another region renowned for Shiraz, McLaren Vale is starting to spoil us with interesting new varieties as well as some ultra-premium Grenache. Whilst this rosé doesn’t have the price tag of the ultra-premium wines, it’s certainly up there with those that do and well worth trying. Deliciously fresh and packed with ripe raspberries and crushed strawberries.” - Diana Thompson, Foodies Magazine, April 2019.
To try this wine for yourself, click here.
Click here to read the full article.
About Sam Kim
Sam has been involved for the past 30 years in New Zealand hospitality, wine retail, importing and distribution, as well as running wine courses and master classes. Wine Orbit is a website featuring reviews of New Zealand wines and wines of the world.
Willunga 100, Grenache Rosé 2017, McLaren Vale - 93 points, 5 stars
It is delicate yet delightfully flavoursome, displaying raspberry, cranberry, rockmelon and lemon zest
characters on the nose, followed by a vibrant palate that is bright and juicy. The wine offers sweet berry
flavours together with refreshing acidity, finishing long and crisp. A fabulous drink. At its best: now to 2019. AU$18.00. www.willunga100.com.
Willunga 100, The Hundred Grenache 2016, McLaren Vale - 95 points, 5 stars
Made from 93-year-old, dry-grown bush vines, this is a stunning grenache; the perfumed bouquet shows raspberry coulis, dark plum, toasted hazelnut, game and floral characters. The palate is equally gratifying with pristine fruit flavours and rounded mouthfeel, wonderfully complemented by velvety texture and fine tannins. Flavoursome, generous and delectable. At its best: now to 2026. AU$35.00. www.willunga100.com.
Willunga 100, The Tithing Grenache 2016, McLaren Vale - 96 points, 5 stars
This is seriously good; the fragrant and complex bouquet shows raspberry, strawberry tart, cedar, floral and warm spice aromas, leading to a concentrated palate that is plush and soothing. The wine displays excellent depth and intensity, together with fabulous fruit purity and spicy complexity, finishing superbly long and silky. At its best: now to 2028. AU$45.00. www.willunga100.com.
Willunga 100, Shiraz Grenache 2016, McLaren Vale - 93 points, 5 stars
Comfort wine at its best, this is fruit-expressive, fragrant and flavoursome. The inviting bouquet shows blackberry, dark plum, hazelnut, game and black olive characters, followed by succulent palate that is juicy and smooth with plenty of attractive fruit flavours, backed by silky tannins. At its best: now to 2024. AU$25.00. www.willunga100.com.
Willunga 100, Tempranillo 2016, McLaren Vale - 93 points, 5 stars
It is immediately appealing on the nose showing dark plum, blackcurrant, thyme, floral and cocoa aromas, leading to a succulent palate that displays rich fruit intensity and silky mouthfeel, wonderfully supported by fine, polished tannins. The wine is plump and fleshy, and offers terrific drinking. At its best: now to 2024. AU$25.00. www.willunga100.com. Jan 2018.
Willunga 100, Shiraz Viognier 2016, McLaren Vale - 94 points, 5 stars
A delicious offering; the beautifully lifted bouquet shows black/blueberry, plum jelly, chocolate tart and cedar characters. The palate is concentrated and beautifully rounded, offering gorgeous fruit purity as well as richness, wonderfully complemented by silky texture and supple tannins. At its best: now to 2026. AU$25.00. www.willunga100.com.
Renowned UK critic and Grenache enthusiast Matthew Jukes has been a long-time fan of the Willunga 100 range. This year marks the second in a row that our Cabernet Shiraz has been included in his 100 Best Australian Wines report.
In addition, he has just included Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Grenache as one of his Top 100 Red Wines for Summer in The Daily Mail Weekend Magazine. He commented:
"One of the juiciest, most enthralling wines of the moment, this has an explosion of pipe smoke, rhubarb and mulberry pie scents on the nose (I’m not joking!) and a creamy, succulent palate. It could charm even the most hard-to-please wine lovers.”