3 May - By Paula Rosa Castronova
The Glory of Grenache was more a live performance than a wine tasting.
The crowd at the Charred Tasting Room for the East End Cellars masterclass on Tuesday night in Town Square were just as interested in the rock star wine presenters as they were in finding out about the world of grenache.
Delight filled the room as Robert Hill-Smith of Yalumba shared the stage and swapped jokes with Stephen Pannell of S.C Pannell and Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg, but there was still serious knowledge shared with the audience.
The tasters were firstly confronted by three blind tastings of older wines. Robert Hill-Smith described the evolution of his Tri-Centenary Grenache 2012 from Yalumba, sourced from vines dating back to 1889. Chester Osborn then discussed geology affecting older grenache vines, with d’Arenberg presenting wines from different sites having different soil types, determining fruity and juicy notes.
Stephen Pannell explained that classic grenache tannins have a sandy, gritty quality, and he believes the popularity of grenache reflects a compatibility with how we live and eat.
Younger vintages presented at the event – such as Yangarra Ovitelli Grenache 2015 – showed a light-to-medium body, while older vintages were more medium bodied. And as a surprise, the tasting finished with a wine that hasn’t yet been bottled – the 2017 vintage S.C.Pannell Grenache.
Grenache is a wine of the moment in Australia and around the world, with this workhorse variety earning its time in the sun. It was certainly popular with this capacity audience, which voted the McLaren Vale wines as winner of this contest by 2 rounds to 1.