Wine Lists

Grenache to try

By Halliday Promotion

15 May, 2023

Discover why everyone’s talking about grenache. 

If you were in Spain you’d call it ‘garnacha’, in Italy ‘cannonau.’ In sunny Australia, we go with grenache, a nod to the popular GSM (grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre) blends native to southern Rhône that excel in our hotter, dryer regions.
Despite all this international inspiration, Australian grenache is carving out its niche as a single varietal wine. Medium- to full-bodied, brightly coloured and floral, Aussie winemakers produce deeply complex examples that are both superb on release and set up to go the distance in the cellar. As Alex Bratasiuk of Clarendon Hills says, “Grenache fruit expression is totally vivid and kaleidoscopic.”
Below are four standout examples that capture the excitement around Aussie grenache. We spoke to producers about their passion for the varietal, plus their top picks for food and wine matching. 

Clarendon Hills bottle shot

2021 Clarendon Hills Onkaparinga Grenache

Thick-skinned, old-vine grenache grapes are handpicked, fully destemmed and partially crushed before wild-yeast fermentation and 28 days maceration. The result is floral and lightly framed with a confection-like note, think roses, wild strawberry, blueberry and lavender with musk and raspberry. Iodine and mineral ironstone elements cast a savoury edge, while silty tannins highlight the impeccable balance and mouth wateringly fresh acidity.  

Alex Bratasiuk, co-owner of Clarendon Hills says: This is one of the finest and lightest framed grenache expressions from our collection of Blewitt Springs old vine vineyards. Each year we observe its demonstration of lifted floral characters like violet, rose and lavender and comment on how light and lifted the palate is with sandy tannins and endless layers of blood orange, raspberry and florals creating something truly hedonistic. 

H. What is the ultimate food pairing for this wine?

AB: With Peking duck at a top-rated Cantonese restaurant – crispy skin pancakes followed by the wonderful meat and a glass of grenache is heaven on earth. 

RRP $90 | Drink to 2043 |

Vindana bottle shot

2022 Vindana Wines Keeper of the Stone Barossa Valley Grenache

With minimal intervention in mind, handpicked fruit is destemmed directly to open fermenters with 20 per cent whole bunches. After maturation in seasoned French oak with some lees stirring, the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result is elegant, complex and full of character with balanced red berry fruit and boiled lolly nuance flowing gently over a layer of integrated oak through to a lovely long finish. 

Winemaker and owner Scott Higginson says: Our 2022 grenache is a wine that we are truly passionate about – it embodies the essence of the southern Barossa Valley. Single vineyard grenache such as this puts its own ego and personality as a grape aside, instead reflecting the climatic conditions and vineyard site. It offers a real sense of place. 

H. What is the ultimate food pairing for this wine?
SH: This wine is incredibly food-friendly and pairs well with a broad range of dishes, particularly Spanish paella or slow-cooked beef and lamb dishes. It’s also delicious when slightly chilled and served as an aperitif.

RRP $30 | Drink to 2033 |

Yalumba bottle shot

2019 Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache

Fruit is handpicked from an 1889-planted vineyard in the Barossa Valley that is dominated by bush vines. A 249-day post-ferment maceration imparts incredible silky texture and refinement to the palate, creating a textural wine with depth, structure, vibrant acidity and defined tannins. Striking floral aromas are complex and intriguing, followed by blueberry, wild cherry, raspberries and pomegranates entwined in orange zest, pepper, spices and leafy notes.

Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury says: Great time and care are given to ensure the preservation of the ancestor vines and the sustainability of the Vine Vale vineyard that produces this grenache. Its sandy soils are essential in retaining heat and facilitating water drainage which helps to produce outstanding quality and highly aromatic wines.

H. What is the ultimate food pairing for this wine?

KG: Slow roasted lamb shoulder with brown-sugar glazed carrots and potatoes au gratin or pulled jackfruit burgers with Asian slaw.

RRP $65 | Drink to 2029 |

Zilzie bottleshot

2021 Zilzie Wines Platinum Edition Barossa Grenache

Sourced from the renowned Barossa region, succulent raspberry intertwines with captivating cinnamon and dark chocolate notes, revealing a complex array of caramel and oak spice complemented by underlying dark fruits and cherry. Well-integrated velvet tannins gracefully envelop the palate, adding a subtle and delightful touch.

Winemaker Candy Jonsson says: This wine showcases the potential of grenache with vibrant fruit expression and captivating aromatics. When crafted with precision, it achieves a harmonious balance that is truly exceptional. The luscious flavours and enticing aromas come together in perfect harmony, making it a joy to produce.

H. What is the ultimate food pairing for this wine?
CJ: Mushroom risotto or lamb and quince tagine. The wine's flavours and characters beautifully complement the earthy richness of mushroom risotto, while also harmonizing with the aromatic spices and tender meat of slow-cooked lamb.

RRP $35 | Drink to 2026 |