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.
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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.