Barossa Grenache is one of the most well-known varieties produced by South Australia’s Barossa Valley wine region, located 60 km northeast of Adelaide.
Grenache (pronounced gren-ash) is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, the south of France, and California’s San Joaquin Valley.
It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. It tends to lack acid, tannin and color, and is usually blended with other varieties such as Barossa Shiraz, Carignan and Cinsaut.
The history of Barossa Grenache
Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold brought new cuttings from the South of France to South Australia in 1844. Plantings of Grenache in South Australia boomed, particularly in McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley. Until the mid 20th century, Grenache was Australia’s most widely planted red wine grape variety with significant plantings in the vast Riverland region where it was vital component in the fortified “port-style” wines of the early Australian industry.
As Australian winemakers started to focus more of premium still wines, Grenache gradually fell out of favor being supplanted by Shiraz and later Cabernet Sauvignon in Australian vineyards.
The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a revival of interest in Grenache with old vine plantings in South Australia being used to produce varietal Grenache as well as a “GSM”-Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre-blends becoming popular. Barossa Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness.