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Clarendon Hills Blewitt Springs Grenache 1998
The bouquet reveals that this wine has a lot more to offer than merely fruit. There is pronounced earthy and mineral characters along with mushrooms and grilled nuts. In addition to these earthy flavors there is the lifted perfume of violets. There is plenty of fruit as well. It sits between raspberries and plums in the spectrum. In summary this is a very complex and rich wine.
Tasting the wine sees yet another dimension. The weight of the fruit is amazing. Whilst the appearance and bouquet promised plenty of concentration it is still surprising just how intense this wine is and also the richness and weight over the palate exceeds expectations. The fruit flavors seem to be more varied on the palate with a whole basket of berries mixing with the plums.
Whilst the fruit is ripe and very concentrated there is tremendous structure to the wine. The tannin levels are very high, yet the sweetness of the fruit tends to mask them at this stage of the wine's development. The acid is also very strong and gives the wine sharp focus at the back of the palate.
With this combination of fruit intensity and structural components the wine is ideal for laying down in a cellar for many years. Grenache generally is not regarded as a long term cellaring wine, however with the amount of tannin woven into the fabric of this powerful wine it will easily last a decade, quite possibly longer. The acid will also help preserve some of the fruit flavors, yet it makes the wine really lively and crisp in the palate as a young wine so you can enjoy the wine whilst the fruit is at its most potent.
As the wine is very intense with layers of fruit and then layers of secondary characters, you really have to search for strongly flavored dishes that will not be swamped by the wine. To this end I suggest hearty stews with plenty of root vegetables in the juices and tasty cuts of meat that demand long, slow cooking.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Clarendon Hills is a small family-run winery based in Clarendon, South Australia. The company was founded by biochemist, Roman Bratasiuk, in 1990. The story of Clarendon Hills is one of passion, dedication and commitment to exception wine. It all began when this biochemist and wine lover decided to produce his own wine. Though he'd never trained as a winemaker, Roman let himself be guided by his refined palate and scientific knowledge. Following his favorite producers and preferred styles, Roman sought to make a version of the wines he loved.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract and alcohol with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.
Full-bodied but light in both color and tannin, Grenache loves the sun. It thrives in hot climates where it can easily achieve full ripeness. Grenache is best known in the Southern Rhône, where its plush texture and ample alcohol are tamed by savory Syrah and structured Mourvèdre, most notably in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache originates in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha and is important throughout the country, particularly in Rioja, where it is blended with the more austere Tempranillo, and in Priorat in tandem with savory Cariñena (Carignan). It is also responsible for dry, fruity rosés in Navarra. In Sardinia, the variety is known as Cannonau and produces bold, rustic reds. In California, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and playing a supporting role in Rhône-style blends.
In the Glass
In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with red fruit flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to dark berry. Richer examples can also show plum, chocolate, and licorice.
Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. With its uncomplicated, friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb loin chops or spicy Italian sausages. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not be fazed by a good chili kick.
Sardinia’s Cannonau is often revered for its association with a long, healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, and they credit this antioxidant-rich wine—along with their healthy Mediterranean diet—for their impressive longevity.