There’s no denying grenache is the new flavour of the moment.
In the space of just a month, two grenache producers at opposite ends of Bethany Road have taken out major trophies.
Last month, Bethany Wines took out the top trophy at the Barossa Wine Show for its 2016 Grenache.
Last week, Turkey Flat Vineyards made history by claiming the prestigious Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for its 2016 Grenache – the first time in the award’s 56-year history the varietal has done so.
The ‘Jimmy’ – presented to the best young red wine at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show – is widely regarded as Australia’s most coveted red wine trophy.
The win also ended a significant drought for the Barossa – the Jimmy hasn’t been presented to a Barossa winery since 2003.
It’s a sweet win for winemaker Mark Bulman, who freely admits to his obsession with the Spanish varietal.
“I’ve had a love affair with grenache since I came here nine vintages ago,” he said.
Mr Bulman said grenache was ideally suited to the warm Barossa climate, and the 2016 vintage provided ideal conditions to produce something special.
“The hot, dry conditions of the 2016 vintage combined with the timely 30 millimetres of rainfall in January and our extraordinary old vine material set us up in the winery to create something truly exceptional,” he said.
“But a lot of stars had to align to bring this (the Jimmy) home.
“Grenache is the real flavour of the moment – and it deserves to be!”
For Turkey Flat proprietor Christie Schulz, the win is a suitable reward for one of her proudest moments – buying the family property from her father-in-law.
“It’s a wine that’s come through adversity; we bought the vineyard in 1987 to stop the vine pull,” she said.
“There wasn’t a market for grapes at the time.”
The federal government of the time was paying growers to pull out vines considered not profitable.
“We purchased the family property to save it from the bulldozers; we made our first grenache in 1992, and it’s always been a star in our portfolio.”
Turkey Flat’s 2016 Grenache was sourced predominantly from its near century-old vines on the Tanunda Creek flats.
Barossa grenache is regarded as being more structured and savoury than its counterparts across the country, and Mrs Schulz said these recent wins were good to “spread the love from shiraz”.
“The Barossa has some of the oldest grenache vines in the country which are producing the best dry, varietal grenache,” she said.
“(Last week’s) win is a vote of confidence for the distinct style of our grenache.
“It shows we’re (Barossa) not just a monoculture – I think a lot of growers will be smiling that they have hung on to their grenache!”
Mr Bulman has the final word: “You think this is good... just wait until you see the ’17!”