This variety shines in the cooler sites and cooler vintages. Full-bodied with ripe, soft tannins and classic blackcurrant/blackberry aromas and flavours.
Although it doesn’t get the attention of the red varieties Chardonnay is the most planted white variety in the region. Various styles are produced, depending on site, but range from lighter bodied citrus flavoured through to more full-bodied peach and melon flavoured with varied oak use.
Grenache is grown in several parts of McLaren Vale and there are many very old vines dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is still used as the backbone in classic GSM blends but single-varietal wines are very exciting. Typically high in alcohol but with lively, juicy raspberry-scented fruit and spicy flavours.
While many varieties do well in McLaren Vale Shiraz is still considered king and still accounts for almost 50% of the total crush each year. A range of sub-regional styles exist but dark chocolate, blueberry and spice characters are common. The best examples are typically medium to full-bodied with vibrant, pure fruit.