Oddly enough some of the world’s oldest Grenache is actually found in the ‘New World’. Australia is home to some of the most venerable Grenache vines in the world many of them well past 100 years old, most of these heritage vines are located in the Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Clare Valley. Right up until the mid to late 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. But as Australian wine makers moved towards table wine and premium still wine stills good old Grenache fell from favour, being replaced with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, even its old buddy Shiraz fell victim to the trend.
But the success of Shiraz in the 1990s 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, similar to those in the Rhone becoming popular. Varietal Grenache from the McLaren Vale is characterized by luscious richness and spicy notes while Barossa Valley Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness.