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The Colonial Estate Grenache Old Vine Alexander Laing 2006
The vine-pull in the Barossa Valley reduced heavily the amount seriously old vines. One of the varieties to survive was Grenache, and therefore this Single Vineyard wine is produced from 100 year old weather-beaten vines that produce small berries from the region of Greenock in the North-west corner of the Barossa Valley. Green-harvesting, handpicking, along with meticulous winemaking ensures a wine that explodes at the back of the palate after a subtle and restrained attack, resulting in a huge finish as well as loads of richness and extract.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
CWC's approach is deliberately and uniquely French. The wines are handpicked into trays and double-sorted. The reds receive cold pre-maceration, delestages, pigeage, and maceration on the skins prior to ageing in French oak; whilst the whites get whole-bunch pressing and lees batonnage and are fermented with yeasts imported from Champagne. The reds come, in principle from the prime Northern Arc of the Barossa Valley and the whites from the cool-climate of the Adelaide Hills. The wines are produced from vines that are either owned by the Company or are from selected growers.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry-farmed and bush-trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
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.