Wine Lists

Great Australian grenache

By Halliday Promotion

27 Feb, 2022

The Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale are home to some of the world's oldest grenache vines. With fruit-forward palates and long ageing potential, here are six of South Australia's best – add them to your list.

    There are approximately 500,000 hectares of grenache planted worldwide, making it one of the most commonly planted varieties, and Australia is home to the oldest producing vines in the world. Initially used for fortified wines, grenache is finally getting the attention it deserves, and South Australia is leading the charge when it comes to producing grenache that is plush and fragrant, while earthy and savoury. Here are six wines to try.

    Thistledown bottle shot

    2021 Thistledown Vagabond Blewitt Springs Grenache

    Sourced from three sites in Blewitt Springs, the nose is perfumed and aromatic with touches of cranberry, wild rosemary and warm spice. The palate is energetic, textural and intense – wild strawberry, violet and spice – with a long finish.

    Winemaker Giles Cooke MW says the Vagabond is best enjoyed with slow-roasted Moroccan lamb shoulder.

    RRP: $60 | Drink to 2030 |

    Curtis Family Wine bottle shot

    2021 Curtis Small Batch McLaren Vale Grenache

    An early release grenache with bright fruits bursting out of the glass. Hand-picked from 120-year-old bush vines, gently destemmed and cold-soaked for 14 days, then slowly fermented for another two weeks before being pressed into stainless steel tanks.

    Winemaker Mark Curtis says this grenache is best enjoyed on a balmy night.

    RRP: $80 | Drink to 2032 |

    Purple Hands bottle shot

    2021 Purple Hands Old Vine Barossa Valley Grenache

    A vibrant crimson leads to aromas of raspberry, cherry and bergamot. Whole clusters leave subtle herbal notes, adding to the complexity. The palate is mid-weight and textural, with generous red berry sweet and fine fruits. Stem tannins add balance to the mouthfeel, and crisp acidity gives a wonderful crunchy and cleansing note to the wine. 

    Winemaker Craig Stansborough recommends enjoying the 2021 with duck, spicy dishes or a cheese platter with all the trimmings.

    RRP: $30 | Drink to 2030 |

    Dandelion Vineyard bottle shot

    2020 Faraway Tree of McLaren Vale Grenache

    Bright red and violet in hue with an opaque edge, and mixed green herbs and dark summer berries on the nose. Integrated and harmonious soft berry fruits on the palate – blueberries, raspberries and mulberries – with a spike of acidity, a racing line of alcohol and well-balanced tannins. The wine finishes with a long, flooding flavour that is undeniably grenache.

    Winemaker Elena Brooks says this wine is incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings. Try it with steak and spring greens, ratatouille, grilled Spanish mackerel or other oily fish. 

    RRP: $120 | Drink to 2032 |

    Clarendon Hills bottle shot

    2020 Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache

    Deep purple and crimson in colour with a flinty edge. Iodine, graphite, dry-roasted spices, blood orange, red berry, plum and that signature, rust-like ferrous edge on the nose. The palate has a very composed core of blueberry and plum fruits with fine, focused tannin. Concentrated and mouth-wateringly fresh, super fleshy and seamless.

    Winemaker and CEO of Clarendon Hills, Roman Bratasiuk pairs this grenache with either Cantonese-style tea-smoked duck, or a charcuterie board.

    RRP: $120 | Drink to 2042 |

    S.C Pannell bottle shot

    2019 S.C. Pannell Smart Grenache

    This wine does not hold back. It's bold, with raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, beeswax, rose petals, mandarin and cumquat on the nose. Turkish Delight, musk lollies, rosewater and exotic spice including mace on the palate, with super fine tannins announcing themselves to carry the amaro flavours and astonishingly long finish.

    Winemaker Stephen Pannell says this wine is best when paired with the 2019 S.C. Pannell Old McDonald Grenache and served with lamb navarin.

    RRP: $65 | Drink to 2030+ |

    Learn more about grenache in our essential guide.

    *This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
    Top image credit: Wine Victoria