Grenache is the McLaren Vale grape Steve is most fond of and in all of its iterations globally, so long as the wine does the grape justice. What does that mean? Treat Grenache like Pinot Noir and not Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, pick it a bit early, very light working of the ferment and moderate skin contact. Steve writes that this wine is “my attempt to claim place over winemaker as the most significant influence over a wine’s quality All I have to do is counteract the two misguided extremes of varietal style: sweet and syrupy at one end, under-ripe, tannin-free giggle juice at the other. Truly great Grenache is neither. Truly great Grenache has aromatics and texture with vibrance and energy. It unfurls gradually with air and, most importantly, speaks clearly of soil and season.” From these 79-year-old Hatwell Vineyard vines in Blewitt Springs, the “where” of the wine certainly shines through in the glass.
The grapes were hand-harvested, partially crushed (23% were left whole cluster) and vinified with native yeasts in small open-top fermenters. Daily pumpovers occurred for 14 days, after which the wine was pressed very gently and settled in tank before transferring it to a 43hL French foudre for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then racked to 28hL and 10hL vats for maturation. After 16 months, the wine was racked to tank, and then racked again for clarity, eliminating the need for fining or filtration. It was bottled with just a small dosage of sulfur.