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Mitchell Grenache 2001
-International Wine Cellar 90 Rating
The Mitchells believe that given the conditions of rocky barren soils, old, dry grown vines and a long ripening period, which their selected vineyards in Clare offer, the fruit develops the flavors and structure for a complex and delicious wine. The glorious essence of Grenache is enhanced with a touch of Mourvedre and Sangiovese.
The resulting wine is not aged in wood, in order to preserve the complex array of fresh lively flavours of the variety - the black cherry and soft fruit tannins. A wine of great style with both power and finesse.
Mitchell's two original vineyards within the Clare District are at Watervale neat the Southern end of the region, and at Sevenhill, near the winery. Riesling and Cabernet were the original varieties produced, but the additions of Shiraz, Semillon and Grenache over the years have added tremendously to the Mitchell offering. Andrew grew up in the Clare Valley, and has always had tremendous respect for the area's fruit quality, in particular Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Both Andrew and Jane earned formal degrees in Wine Science and Wine Production, respectively, and have been instrumental in developing the justly deserved worldwide recognition for Clare and its wines over the past 25 years.
The Clare Valley is actually a series of narrow north to south valleys, each with different soil types and slightly different weather patterns along their stretch. In the southern heartland between Watervale and Auburn, there is mainly a crumbled, red, clay loam soil called terra-rossa and cool breezes come in from Gulf St. Vincent. A few miles north in Polish Hill is soft, red loam over clay and is influenced by westerlies blowing in from the Spencer Gulf.
The differences in soil, elevation, degree of slope and weather influences enable the region to produce some of Australia’s finest aromatic, spicy and lime-pithy Rieslings, as well as excellent Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec with ripe plummy fruit, good acid and big structure.
Clare Valley is an isolated farming country with a continental climate known for its warm and sunny days, followed by cool nights—perfect for wine grapes’ development of sugar and phenolic ripeness in conjunction with notable acidity levels.
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.