Why is Grenache so good?
Grenache appeals to many, with its juicy, ripe red fruit, punctuated with spice notes like cinnamon, nutmeg or star anise, and the use of oak can also bring out vanilla and cloves.
Pinot Noir and Grenache grapes are similar in that they both have thin skins, bright fruit aromas and flavors, and bright medium-acidity. Both are sensitive to terroir (the complete natural environment that a wine is produced in, including factors such as the soil, topography and climate.) Sometimes Grenache is referred to as the warm climate Pinot. For me, I just find it more exciting, more lively (jazzy even) than Pinot Noir, and hands down is what I would reach for if both were offered up in a glass in front of me. Controversial in New Zealand, I know!
Folks in the wine industry tend to have great respect for Grenache, and while it is gaining favour among high-interest consumers, it has yet to gain a foothold with mainstream consumers. But we hope those tables are beginning to turn.
Used trustingly in Rosés and GSM blends for many years (and even fortifieds), these days Grenache (or Garnacha as it is known in Spanish) as a straight varietal is trending, and is starting to get some of the attention it deserves, as wine lovers around the globe begin to explore the different expressions this wonderful grape can offer.
The dominant variety in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most Southern Rhone wines from the Southern Rhone regions in France, Grenache has also been embraced by the warmer and dryer ‘new world’ wine regions of California and South Australia.
It generously lends itself to the terroir of its growing region, taking on nuanced characteristics from that region and delivering delightfully unique styles. Strawberries, black cherries and raspberries can all shine through, and can lead into jam territory in warmer regions, whereas floral, herbal and/or peppery notes can be present in cooler climate varieties.
Much like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, Grenache grapes are sensitive to soil, climate and altitude, and winemaking techniques. They tend to prefer warmer, dryer climates with cool nights, and rocky well-drained soils like schist and granite. These are some of the key characteristics of our Brockenchack single vineyard in Eden Valley, all of which helps to deliver wines which preserve acidity and freshness, while offering elegance, purity and balance. The whole picture in a glass.
South Australia is leading the charge when it comes to producing plush and fragrant Grenache that is also earthy and savoury. Grenache vines draw deeply from their roots and the minerally soils of Eden Valley give our expression great backbone. In fact Grenache is the third most planted red variety in the Barossa and some think that one day it could give Shiraz (the region’s most widely planted grape) a run for its money. Only time will tell.
Despite being typically a little higher in alcohol, between its balanced tannins, medium acidity and plush berries, this food-friendly crowd-pleaser of a wine works really well alongside grilled meats and the good old kiwi barbeque. It partners nicely with fruit-based sauces and it simply sings with pizza.
It is best enjoyed at cooler room temperatures, or even after a quick stint in the fridge on a hot day, to really allow the fruit and spice to shine through.
The Megan Jane Grenache
Our Grenache vines were planted in 2013, to be blended into our (you guessed it…) Rosé. But as our wines evolved, our Rosé became a straight Shiraz Rosé and we were left with a patch of Grenache, looking to be loved… Rather than sell off these gorgeous grapes or blend them into another wine, we jumped at the thought of giving our Grenache a chance on centre-stage, in its own dedicated varietal. And we haven’t looked back.
Planted on what is affectionately referred to as ‘snake hill’ (yes, you can guess why… and yes I take a wide berth when visiting my vines!) our Grenache has been shining in the spotlight since our first 2017 release took out the top gold at the 2019 Melbourne International Wine Competition and earned Brockenchack the title of ‘Eden Valley Grenache Winery of the Year’- something we were (and still are) immensely proud of!
The following year our 2018 edition went on to receive two silvers; one in Melbourne and one at the New Zealand International Wine Show.
With our 2019 boasting gold at Melbourne’s 2021 show, plus 94, 93 + 92 point scores from well-respected wine reviewers Sam Kim (Wine Orbit), Ken Gargett (Winepilot) and Bob Campbell (The Real Review) respectively, you already get the feeling that you can expect a quality wine every year. Winefolio’s tasting team ranked this wine #2 in their Top 10 Aussie Red Varietals tasting and their top Grenache!
But then add to that our next release… the 2020 Megan Jane Grenache, which has not yet hit NZ shores but has already been awarded Double Gold at last year’s Melbourne International Wine Competition, and the future looks very bright (just like this wine).
It is truly such an honour to have a wine named after you… one of those lifetime achievements that you had never really set out to achieve! But perhaps the best part is that this is not just any old wine, it is a consistently award-winning, sell-out wine – year after year. I mean, if you’re going to have a wine named after you, you want to hope it’s a good one right?!
And this one is a cracker… a wine that continues to evolve with every sip. Well worth a look.