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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 a different soil type 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; westerlies blowing in from the Spencer Gulf influece this area's climate.
The differences in soil, elevation, degree of slope and weather 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.
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. The grape typically produces full-bodied reds interestingly light in both color and tannins. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha) where it remains important, particularly in Priorat where winemakers enjoy great liberties in blending Grenache with other varieties. Today it might be most well associated with the red blends of 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, Washington and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.
In the Glass
In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or 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. Because of its friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.
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.