Vintage 2021 is shaping up superbly, we had some really good rain over winter which set us up for some beautiful early growth and healthy canopies. Our dry grown bushvine grenache at Blewitt Springs has just started to go through veraison (which is where the berries begin their ripening process and start to change colour).
The team has been working hard in the Willunga 100 ‘Blindspot Vineyard’ this year with a few upgrades and changes. Most excitingly, late last year we planted a new section of Grenache – cuttings of nearly 100 year old bushvine Grenache were taken from the much loved ‘Smart Vineyard’ in Clarendon where we make our single vineyard Clarendon Grenache. They were planted into the sandy soils of the Blindspot Vineyard and we’ve been keeping a close eye on their growth.
The Smart vineyard has been looked after by the same family for 3 generations and has been the source for many well regarded McLaren Vale Grenache vineyards – we were really grateful to get cuttings from a vineyard with such amazing pedigree. We hope that once it is established we can line it up side by side with the Clarendon Grenache to highlight the impact location has on the wine.
Stay tuned for more vintage updates!
Willunga 100 Winemaker
Our Blewitt Springs 'The Hundred' Grenache has been highly decorated across past vintages, and the 2018 is off to the same start. It received the ‘TOP GOLD’ MEDAL from The Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2020 as part of the 'Grenache, 2018 vintage or older' class. The judges commented: “A strong class, top wines show diversity in style. Bright and delicious with fruit intensity”.
The Royal Adelaide Wine Show is the most prestigious wine show in Australia, featuring over 2,500 wines from over 300 wineries across the country.
Wines are judged by a panel of esteemed judges from across Australia over four days, to determine medal and trophy winners.
The ' Hundred' range exemplifies the diversity in style that can be achieved with McLaren Vale Grenache by focusing on single vineyard wines from some of the region's finest sub-zones.
The dry grown bush vines for this single vineyard Grenache were planted in 1952 on ancient sandy soil is over a clay and ironstone base. The Trott vineyard is situated 210m above sea level, on the moderate to steep hills of Blewitt Springs next to the Onkaparinga Gorge.
Fruit is hand-harvested and whole berry sorted, then vinified in open fermenters and gently basket pressed. The result is a vibrant and complex wine that is a pure expression of both site and variety.
Here at Willunga 100, we have been shocked and saddened by the recent devastation caused by bushfires across Australia. The losses experienced in our homeland, especially around Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island, have touched us deeply and our hearts go out to all our colleagues, friends, fellow producers, growers, and all those directly or indirectly affected by these tragic events. The road to recovery will be long and hard but as an industry, we will pull together and support those in need. In solidarity, Willunga 100 will donate $2.00 from every case sold on our website from January through to June 30 to the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Fire Appeal and Kangaroo Island Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund.
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 email@example.com
The people behind Grenache specialist Willunga 100 have bought its first vineyard in McLaren Vale for an undisclosed price. The 19 hectare site, situated on Moritz Road in the heart of Blewitt Springs, has close to eight hectares of old, bush trained Grenache. The vineyard is situated within the ‘Hundred of Willunga’, the area which was the inspiration for the name given to the new venture by founders David Gleave and John Ratcliffe when they first started producing wines in McLaren Vale in 2005.
“We’ve taken fruit off the vineyard for several years, so we know just how good it is,” says winemaker Mike Farmilo. “In fact our 2016 ‘Tithing’ Grenache, one of the best wines we’ve made in the past 15 vintages, came off this site.”
Willunga 100 has pioneered unoaked, single vineyard Grenache in McLaren Vale. Its Blewitt Springs Grenache, made with fruit from Sue Trott’s vineyard, won ‘Best Grenache Trophy’ at the McLaren Vale Wine Show in 2015 and 2016, while the Clarendon Grenache, which comes off the Smart vineyard, won the ‘Best Two Year Old or Older Grenache Trophy’ in 2017.
David Gleave said of the purchase: “The success enjoyed by Willunga 100 has been built on the quality of fruit we source from our growers, the best of whom we will continue working with. As our business has grown, we’ve been looking for our own vineyard for a couple of years, and knew exactly where we wanted to be. When this site came up, its location on Blewitt Springs sands made for a quick decision.
“Our aim is simple,” continues Gleave. “We plan to invest in the vineyard to see if we can improve upon the quality of the already outstanding fruit it has been producing,” continued Gleave. “After 15 vintages, it is nice to be able to give Willunga 100 a home.”
For further information, please contact Zoe Mallen:
+61 406 532206
We are excited to announce that we have welcomed two new staff members to the WILLUNGA 100 team.
Meet Karen, who is based in the heart of the McLaren Vale Wine Region close to the home of WILLUNGA 100. Karen has over 19 years of experience within the Australian Wine Industry and is tasked with keeping our brand moving right from grape through to bottle.
Meet Zoe, she recently joined the team having moved across from the UK 6 years ago where she clocked up 20+ years in the wine industry. Zoe is responsible for making you love the WILLUNGA 100 portfolio of wines as much as we do and will be working closely with all Distribution Channels to spread the love far and wide.
Renowned Winemakers Mike Farmilo and Tim James remain at the forefront of our winemaking team in McLaren Vale and they continue to work their magic both in our vineyards and in the winery. When Mike surfaces from the demands of the forthcoming 2019 Vintage, we will be coaxing him out and about in a series of ‘Meet your Winemaker’ events - Stay tuned!
We have enjoyed great success on this year’s show circuit and are very happy to share the news that two Willunga 100 wines have just won trophies at the prestigious McLaren Vale Wine Show. Our Cabernet Shiraz 2014 was awarded the trophy for Best McLaren Vale Cabernet Predominant Blend, while ‘The Hundred’ Grenache 2014 scooped the Best McLaren Vale Grenache trophy.
With judges including James Halliday and Huon Hooke, the McLaren Vale Wine Show’s mission is to “provide a vehicle for presenting McLaren Vale wines to ensure that the excellence of the varieties, viticulture, production, provenance and sub-regionality are celebrated” and we are thrilled that our wines have been recognised at the highest level on all these counts. Given the region’s reputation for producing Australia’s best Grenache, this particular category was, unsurprisingly, the most competitive at the Show…so for ‘The Hundred’ to be named top Grenache in McLaren Vale is a remarkable achievement.
The full list of our awards from this year’s show season is testament to the quality of our wines from the 2014 vintage:
2014 ‘The Hundred’ Grenache
Trophy for the Best McLaren Vale Grenache (McLaren Vale Wine Show 2015)
2014 Cabernet Shiraz
Trophy for the Best McLaren Vale Cabernet Predominant Blend (McLaren Vale Wine Show 2015)
Trophy for the Best Tempranillo of Show (Winewise Awards 2015)
Gold Medal (Winewise Awards 2015)
2014 Shiraz Viognier
Top Gold of its Class (Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2015)
2013 Shiraz Viognier
Gold Medal (New Zealand International Wine Show 2015)
2013 Cabernet Shiraz
Gold Medal (New Zealand International Wine Show 2015)
For more information about the McLaren Vale Wine Show and to see the full list of winners, visit http://mclarenvale.info/wine/wine-show/results/.