Rebirth of an Australian Classic

As one of the original varieties planted in Australia, there are many vineyard sites, especially in McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley with Grenache vines dating back to the late 1800s.

In the early years Grenache was often relegated to fortified wine production and basic blends, but in recent years growers have recognised the beauty of the ripe, spicy, cherry and raspberry-scented characters that single-varietal Grenache can yield.

Grenache snapshot

  • Australia is home to the oldest Grenache vineyards in the world with still productive vines dating back to 1850. 
  • Grenache has a long history as a workhorse red variety and was used extensively in fortified wine production. 
  • Single-varietal Grenache is currently in fashion and the varietal also forms the backbone of classic red blends, partnering beautifully with Shiraz and Mourvedre (GSM). 
  • Grenache is also used successfully in the production of Rose.

In the vineyard

  • Grenache is an early budding late ripening variety so is well suited to warmer zones
  • It is a vigorous variety that can yield prolifically 
  • If over-cropped the wines can be simple and basic – keeping yields low results in higher quality, better structured wines
Regions

Given that it buds early and ripens late, Grenache is best suited to warmer climate regions.

Styles

A wide range of styles of Grenache have emerged, from medium-bodied to quite rich and flavourful. Grenache is important in blends and still a key component in fortified wine production.

Qualities

A wide range of qualities exist. Affordable, every day drinking wines through to classically structured, old vine examples.

1,507ha
Total plantings (2015)
1840s
First plantings

In the winery

Vinification techniques
  • Use of cold soaks prior to fermentation for aroma enhancement
  • Whole cluster and stem inclusion techniques being used for structure and aromatics
  • Extended post-fermentation maceration for tannin integration and savouriness
Maturation
  • Larger format barrels for ageing
  • Older (neutral) oak barrels for maturation 

Major regional expressions

Barossa Valley

  • Barossa is home to the oldest productive Grenache vineyards in the world
  • Medium to full-bodied, richly textured wines with red fruit, earth and white pepper character
  • Very important as the backbone to GSM blends
Read more on Barossa Valley

McLaren Vale

  • Many old vine vineyards scattered throughout the region
  • Medium to full-bodied wines with rich texture ripe juicy fruit, and spice
Read more on McLaren Vale

In the glass

Style and character

The style of Grenache has evolved in recent times. It can range from medium weight to full flavoured and rich.

Pairs with

Grilled meats, game, lighter curries, light to moderately spiced dishes, charcuterie.

Typical flavours

Cherry
Dark Raspberry
White Pepper
Earth
Spice