d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2005
The 2005 Derelict Vineyard displays a distinct aroma of old vine characteristics. On the nose, earth, red berries, cherries, cranberries, plums and tarry leather notes are complemented by more exotic juicy characters of toasted fennel seed, allspice, pepper, and vanilla bean. The palate is rich with ripe cranberry, mulberry and Turkish delight balanced by a framework of lively tannins and elevated acidity. This wine is elegant with a wonderful softness, which is what Grenache is all about.
d'Arenberg is one of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and other Rhone varieties that have historically defined the region. A century on, their vineyards have grown to some 450 acres in McLaren Vale, including Shiraz dating back to d'Arenberg's first plantings in 1912, and nearly one-third of McLaren Vale's old bush-vine Grenache. Fourth generation winemaker, Chester Osborn, recently converted all of the family's vineyards to organics and biodynamics and moved to solar energy in the winery. All the while, in terms of winemaking, not much has changed--all the wines are basket-pressed, the reds foot-trodden during fermentation; everything is done in small batches, leading to an impressive array of bottlings every year, each showing a different facet of McLaren Vale terroir. Having been inducted into Wine & Spirits Magazine's Hall of Fame for earning a place on its Top 100 Wineries nine times, this accolade is a reflection of d'Arenberg's revered reputation worldwide.
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 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.
Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache plays an important role in the blends of Spain's Priorat and in the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.
Tasting Notes for Grenache
Grenache is a dry, red wine that is typically full-bodied and interestingly light in both color and tannins. Grenache produces wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or licorice.
Perfect Food Pairings for Grenache
Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.
Sommelier Secrets for Grenache
Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet and low stress lifestyle.