Of all the red grapes in Australia, no variety has been given a new lease on life in recent years quite like Grenache.
To put it into context, during the mid-1980s, the government was paying farmers around $800 per acre to rip out their centuries-old Grenache vines. Some took the money but 'forgot' to rip out the vines. Thankfully.
In the 1960s it was one of the main grapes contributing to the fortified wines that made up around 80% of our total wine production. Today it represents a mere 1% of our plantings. That tells you just how maligned the variety was just a few short decades ago.
Cut to today, there are many who believe that Grenache is well on its way to being our most exceptional red variety, comparable in quality to the finest expressions found anywhere on the planet.
The truth is, if you want to spend around $30 on a bottle of red wine in Australia at the moment, pound for pound, your best option is probably picking up a bottle of Grenache.
Why? Because it can adopt a wide spectrum of personalities. From delicate, cherubic, almost Pinot-esque styles that shine with bright red fruits and fine crunchy tannins to imperious, densely structured wines with depth and power that will see them evolve in bottle for decades to come. Grenache can do anything.
"Grenache is a glorious variety, a bridge between pinot noir and shiraz, taking the best from each of the two varieties."
- James Halliday (2020 James Halliday Grenache Challenge)
Also, the value has been there because for a long time Grenache was ignored by the wine-buying public in favour of Shiraz and Cabernet and the like. But that is not going to be the case for long. The times (and tastes), they are a changin'.
Over the year of 2020, Grenache was the third most popular variety at Different Drop. We sold as many bottles of Grenache as we did Gamay and Nebbiolo combined (arguably two of the most 'in vogue' red varieties at present) and it was bested only by Pinot Noir and Shiraz. It's great to see.
If you have been sticking to your guns and giving Grenache the cold shoulder, we encourage you to take a punt on some of these brilliant modern Australian expressions we have available.