Wine Lists

Grenache and blends to try

By Halliday Promotion

18 Mar, 2022

Here are five grenache-dominant wines: two straight grenache, two GSMs and one grenache shiraz. All are a must-try.

Grenache is truly expressive of terroir. It's able to capture country and climate (arguably) better than any other grape variety, and Australia is home to some of the oldest producing vines in the world. In 1988, winemaker Charles Melton began experimenting with classic Rhône styles, blending grenache, shiraz and mataro (aka mourvèdre), which paved the way for blends like grenache shiraz, and the GSM. Get to know five grenache and grenache-dominant blends below.

Bent Creek Old Bush Vine Grenache 2020 bottle shot

2020 Bent Creek Old Bush Vine Grenache

Elegant medium-bodied dry red, dusty with sandy tannins. Lush creamy middle palate with a lovely extension and fresh summery berries on the nose.

Winemaker Goe DiFabio says: "This grenache was made to show the true character of the unblemished fruit hand-picked at just over 14 baumé, crushed and put through a slow ferment. After seven days the juice is soft-pressed to eliminate harsh tannins – we wanted a fruit-driven wine."

H. What do you love about this wine?
G. Grenache has always been one of my favourite varieties, because it can be made in so many different styles: picked a little early and made into a vibrant rosé with lots of fresh berry characters; or aged in older barrels for three to four months to give more complexity. If you pick the grapes later, once they're really ripe, you can make a full-bodied red with raisin and blackberry sweetness.

Food pairing suggestion: Slow-cooked ragu, or Asian dishes to bring out the spice.

RRP $27 | Drink to 2032 |

Bondar bottle shot

2020 Bondar Junto GSM

“[A blend of] grenache, shiraz, mataro, carignan, cinsaut and counoise. Old vines; hand-picked; élevage in old oak. Bright, clear crimson; a perfumed, red-fruited, spiced bouquet lights the way, the palate making off with this opening by adding high-quality tannins…it comes together in glistening unison.” James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion, 96 points.

Winemaker Andre Bondar says: “Junto is supposed to be fresh, unpretentious and delicious. Serve it a little cooler, especially on a warm day – 15 minutes in the fridge prior to serving enhances the beautiful red fruits and adds a refreshing quality.”

H. What is special about this blend?
A. ‘Junto’ is a Spanish/Portuguese word that means ‘together’ and the idea behind this wine has always been to be a grenache-led blend, where the sum of the varieties is greater than its parts. The grenache in our Junto blend comes from our 50-year-old block of dry-grown and organically managed grenache vines on our Rayner Vineyard, plus two growers (the Trott Wilpena vineyard and one McLaren Flat with vines on sand that are over 80 years old). The shiraz is from Rayner, the 70-year-old vines in sand help to soften some edginess in the wine’s youth. Mataro from a grower in Willunga on Kurrajong soils gives a subtle spice and savoury quality, and some grip. The carignan, cinsault and counoise, all new plantings on our own site, lighten the feel of the palate and contribute complex flavours.

Food pairing suggestion: Charcuterie (specifically thin slices of Italian fennel salami), spring-style lamb or slow-roasted duck. 

RRP $28 | Drink to 2030 |

Head red grenache

2021 HEAD RED Barossa Valley Grenache

Deep crimson red in colour with notes of raspberry, red liquorice, dusty earth spices and wild herbs. The palate has sweet red fruits with delicate tannins and a gentle acid presence.

Winemaker Alex Head says: "The sweet and savoury balance you can strike with grenache allows effortless drinking."

H. What makes this grenache so unique?
A. Sourced from two very special grenache vineyards, grown and picked specifically for bottling as a straight grenache. The 2021 vintage was mild in every manner, mainly due to La Niña. Grenache did not achieve high sugars like the previous three vintages and this has given us the opportunity to make a straight varietal HEAD RED Grenache (well almost). The first vineyard was planted in 1970 on the Biscay soils of Bethany. It is spur-pruned, shoot-thinned and bunch-thinned for quality. The second vineyard is made up of bush-vines planted in 1968 in Nuriootpa on red-clay over sand. Both are hand-picked and we ferment with about 10 per cent whole bunches, nine months in French hogsheads and a splash of 1968 planted mataro make this wine utterly delicious and ready for immediate consumption.

Food pairing suggestion: Lightly chill for best results, then enjoy with marinated barbecued prawns.

RRP $28 | Drink to 2032 |

John Duval bottle shot

2021 John Duval Wines Concilio Grenache Shiraz

Vibrant, bright raspberries and cranberry with hints of savoury spice on the nose, with a medium-bodied, soft, textured palate. Bright, juicy red fruit glides across the length of the palate, finishing with a gentle lick of savoury tannin.

Winemakers John and Tim Duval say: "This wine is best enjoyed in its youth and with gusto. We love the vibrancy, texture and immediate drinkability that this wine is able to convey."

H. What makes this blend so special?
J & T. This is the third release of Concilio, the grenache (85 per cent) was sourced from survivor bush vine block located to the south of Tanunda, along with an old vine parcel from Moppa. Shiraz (15 per cent) was sourced from a single vineyard at Ebenezer, and selected for its savoury notes and plush texture that complemented the grenache.

Food pairing suggestion: Roasted duck with a Davidson plum and red wine sauce by chef Ryan Edwards, chef at the Artisans of Barossa cellar door.

RRP $30 | Drink now |

Yering Station grenache blend

2020 Yering Station Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre

Brilliant deep garnet in colour, this wine opens with a bouquet of fresh spice, red berries and flora. Lively with bright acidity, its soft tannins make for a juicy palate full of raspberries and Christmas spice. 

Winemaker Brendan Hawker says: "I love the spectrum of styles on offer with grenache blends. From the perfumed, juicy and bright red fruited to the rich, concentrated, dark and jammy."

H. What makes this GSM so great?
B. Our 2020 GSM is 50 per cent grenache, 43 per cent shiraz, five per cent mourvedre and two per cent viognier. We pick based on flavour ripeness and vinify everything separately, except for the shiraz and viognier. Being a cool-climate here in the Yarra Valley, our grenache shows incredible spice, floral perfume and juicy acidity, but it needs the mid-palate weight that the shiraz brings. The mourvedre, even at a low percentage, brings a lovely, grainy tannin to give the blend some structural definition.

Food pairing suggestion: This blend is light to medium bodied with plenty of spice, and is best paired with barbecued lamb or pulled pork.

RRP $40 | Drink to 2031 |