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S.C. Pannell


“Smart Vineyard”

Grenache   |   McLaren Vale - Australia


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. Bernard Smart is now 85 and has worked the land all of his life. He, and other members of his family, have planted many of the best sites in the region though Bernard wasn’t born when some parcels were were planted. This is the highest altitude Grenache vineyard in McLaren Vale, planted in 1955 and though is located in the ironstone rich warmth of Clarendon, it showcases very high toned aromatic notes reminiscent of Blewitt Springs.

The grapes were hand harvested on the 14th of March, vinified naturally in small open-top fermenters entirely destemmed. After eight days on skins, it was gently pressed and transferred to a 25hL, six-year-old French-oak vat and a few 4-year-old French demi-muid for maturation. After 11 months aging it was bottled without fining or filtration and a small dose of sulfur.


  • Grapes: 100% Grenache
  • Vineyard: Smart Vineyard (Clarendon)
  • Vine Age: 63-years-old
  • Soil Type: Undulating red clay loams variously dotted with chunks of iron-stone and shale quartz.
  • Viticulture: Practicing Organic - dry-farmed
  • Fermentation: Native – Stainless Steel (100% destemmed)
  • Skin Contact: 8 days
  • Aging: 11 months in a 6-year-old 25hL French foudre and three 4-year-old demi-muid
  • pH: 3.23
  • Total Acidity: 7.4
  • Total SO2: 60 ppm
  • Total Production: 305 cases

Tasting Note

This takes some air and ideally some time to slowly unfurl, but the patience is rewarded with an aromatic onslaught of raspberries, pastille, woody herbs, boysenberry, licorice and crème de violette. The palate is fresh and vibrant and has an energy that is compelling. Finishes with a delicous amaro-quality that has become synonymous with this site. A tightly wound, interwoven fist-full of wine that releases a vitality and energy that makes this far more serious than the nose would have you believe initially. The tannins are ultra fine and sandy and finish the wine with a savory lick.