Grenache and Grenache blends at Fox Creek in McLaren Vale

Grenache and Grenache blends at Fox Creek in McLaren Vale

Brendan Jansen MW: 28th November 2019

A Grenache masterclass at the Master of Wine (MW) seminar took us to Fox Creek Winery in McLaren Vale. We were hosted by Marketing Manager James Carman and Winemaker Ben Tanzer.

A stimulating discussion around the (slow but sure) growth of Grenache as a variety of interest, and the special place McLaren Vale holds in that story, followed. The tasting highlighted the range of terroirs in the Vale – with varying soils, altitudes, temperature ranges – and how these affect flavour profiles. We also saw the effects of vintage variation and the impact such variation has on each year’s blend.

Most fascinating was tasting samples of 2019 Grenache from varying locations in the Vale. The Blewitt Springs site – at higher altitude and on sandy soils, gave rise to a lighter, floral aromatic Grenache, and as Ben described, “sandy” tannins. Vines were 90 years old! The Grenache from around McLaren Vale itself, on darker soils, gave rise to more sinew and darker fruit. The bush vines here were also 97 years old!

Around Willunga, with the vines on alluvial clay, there was again a different expression, still pretty but with more sour fruit. From the Sellicks vineyard site, there was a wonderful combination of sweet fruit and super structure.

We had a chance to try 100% Shiraz samples and 100% Mourvedre samples, to understand how they contribute to a GSM blend.

Look out for these wines – at RRP $37 for the Limited Release Grenache, and $27 for the GSM, they’re a steal.