Grenache stars in some fantastic blends, with the Barossa and McLaren Vale leading the charge. It was great to see these celebrated earlier this year at Game of Rhônes, an epic, energised tasting event hosted by Dan Sims and the team at Bottle Shop Concepts.
Ruggabellus Timaeus 2012 Barossa Valley
I’m a total blow-in when it comes to Abel Gibson, the guy behind Ruggabellus. But now I’m in the know, I can’t get enough. He came to my attention by winning the Young Gun of Wine Award 2012 but his CV includes stints with Penfolds, Rockford, Chris Ringland, Charles Melton and Spinifex.
Gibson made 2066 bottles of Timaeus, one of four Rhône-blend labels produced under the Ruggabellus name. It’s comprises 76% Grenache 14% Syrah and 10% Mataro. There’s red, blue and black fruit on the nose, which also has funky, savoury and smoky bacon tones. The medium-bodied palate is beautifully layered, with more of the same fruits, plus spice and a lilting leafiness on the finish. Gorgeously complex and alive, it’s a wine that unfurls gradually and gives great enjoyment. Timaeus is ancient Greek for honour, apparently, and that’s exactly what it is to drink this wine.
RRP $40 – Alcohol 13.6% – Tasted 26/07/13
Yangarra GSM 2011 McLaren Vale
This blend from excellent Grenache exponent Yangarra is led by old bush-vine fruit (41%) from 1946 plantings, with Shiraz (31%) and Mourvèdre (28%) in support. It’s a glossy, bright medium ruby in colour, with a perfumed nose of mixed berries and cherries with a touch of herb and spice. It’s pretty full bodied, with juicy red and black fruits backed by black pepper and aniseed, a perfect complement of sweet and savoury characters. Good to see Mourvèdre playing more than a minor role. The wine has good fresh acid and length.
RRP $28 – Alcohol 14% – Tasted 18/09/13
Wirra Wirra Original Blend Grenache Shiraz 2012 McLaren Vale
A great package all round, this, from the small, classic, old-school label and unassuming name. It’s clear, bright, crimson purple in colour, with lifted raspberry and floral notes on the nose. Milk chocolate raspberry bullets and aniseed sit in the background, with deeper notes of pippy bramble fruit and a bit of earth.
It’s just over medium bodied, lovely and smooth, with red fruits up front and that chocolatey note. The ripe, dusty tannins have a pleasant firmness and combine with good acid to really push out the finish of raspberries, blackberry and black cherry with a touch of spice.
It’s a lovely wine – easy to enjoy and a great example of the harmony of good Grenache with Shiraz. It has spice and richness and there’s a lovely, juicy, slinky feeling to it. Drink with lamb backstraps. Drinking beautifully now and will continue to do so over the next few years.
RRP $25 – Alcohol 14.5% – Tasted 17/10/13 – Sample supplied