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Yangarra Estate Old Vine Grenache 2002
McLaren Vale is a bounteous basin washed by the pristine Gulf St. Vincent. Ten miles from these waters lies a hillock of 60 million-year-old sands, nicknamed "The Beach." It's actually the weathered remnant of a long-gone mountain range, revered for the earthy wholesomeness it feeds our dry-farmed 60 year-old bush vines. The rosy polished sheen of this Grenache, its blackberry and spicebox bouquet and long, intense finish, perfectly show what these ancient sands produce. Yangarra, by the way, is Aboriginal for "from the earth." And Vincent is the patron Saint of vineyards. Coincidence?
Australian winemaker, Peter Fraser, teamed up with KJWE's Winemaster Randy Ullon to blend and bottle Yangarra Park wines in the famous Barossa Valley of South Australia. Peter brings his widely regarded depth and breadth of knowledge of each of Australia's finest winemaking regions. Peter's deft and cosmopolitan wine style results from more than eight years experience in the Australian wine industry.
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 and alcohol, with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style, as are ripe, tropical-fruited Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
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.