The Royal Adelaide Wine Show has wrapped up for another year and, positions on wine shows aside, I’ve been lucky enough to try a few of the medal winning wines from this year’s entries. This has been thanks to my involvement in the Wine Communicators of Australia SA Chapter committee – so I’m in the luxurious position of neither having to pay for the wines directly nor feeling beholden to any producer.
I was also lucky enough to be able to share these wines with some of my family and the reason I’ve chosen to write about the Yalumba Grenache first is that it was, easily, the wine that was the biggest hit with my small sample of enthusiastic non-industry drinkers. There was even some acknowledgement that seeing ‘Yalumba’ would be cause to skip the wine in a retail environment (I guess you can get too big!). This wine picked up the top gold medal in Class 34 – Grenache 2013 and older. This was a small class with fewer than 25 entries and more than half picking up medals. What conclusions to draw from this … I know not!
It is disappointing though that this the show’s lone Grenache class was so small – as Grenache is a grape capable of producing really lovely wines that hold their own against our blockbuster Shirazes and Cabernets. It is food friendly, approachable and capable of ageing. In South Australia we are also privileged to have plenty of seriously old Grenache vines. Indeed, the vines that produced the grapes for this wine were planted in 1898.
So what is it like in the glass?
Appearance wise, medium intensity, and purple-ruby in colour. The nose is reasonably pronounced, showing strawberry and strawberry leaf and stem characters with a touch of tobacco and cedar.
On the palate, the stemmy/stalky notes are very much in the background to lots of fresh red fruit – strawberries and raspberries, wrapped up with a little white pepper and warm spice. Some of the cedar shows up too. What is really lovely and refreshing about this wine is that you get to experience this spice complexity and then it wraps up with another burst of fresh, juicy strawberry. The tannins are soft and the acidity is actually not too bad either which I think adds to the sensations of ripe red fruit, but it’s not over the top (which you wouldn’t expect in a Grenache anyway) meaning there’s no tartness.
Perhaps what is most pleasing about this wine is that you can pick it up for under $20. Even at a slightly higher price point this wine would represent something of a bargain, but below $20 there’s just no excuse not to give it a try.
Another bonus: it is both vegetarian and vegan friendly.