|Did I mention the labelling? Super cool|
Vinteloper Urban Winery Project McLaren Vale Grenache 2012
14.5%, Screwcap, $29
Ahh the juiciness of Grenache. When done right, this is a generous, affable and joyous grape that is well suited to McLaren Vale.
You can see the whole gamut of Grenache styles in the Vale too, starting with the lighter shades – pretty, early drinking, redcurrant and raspberry fruited wines of lolly confectionery characters (though confected wines are considered undesirable), pretty florals and almost Pinotesque weight.
The style spectrum then gets darker, the wines becoming more inky, dark and black fruited, heavily licoricey and eventually syrupy styles built for the cellar, often finishing with very drying tannins (particularly in drought year vintages on the sandy soils. 08 and 09 vintage wines from around Sellicks Beach can show this).
Given such a wide variety of expressions, its almost a surprise that there isn’t more great Vale Grenache. Why there isn’t more of a focus on making this the ‘other’ regional hero varietal. I mean, the climate is right, the vines are old, the viticulture sorted. Yet It seems that good Vale Grenache is less favoured, less preferenced, even though the better wines can be more interesting than Cabernet Sauvignon (for one example).
Finding this wine then was like spotting a shining light in a storm. I had it after a line of other Grenache and Shiraz type blends and it stood out in the best possible fashion, the sheer joyousness of it so attention seeking and wonderful that I was wooed.
Filling in the back story, it’s of little surprise that it’s so good. Food-trod, hand-destemmed, hand-pressed (with a manual basket press) and treated with minimal sulphur. Quite simply, aside from the fact that the fruit was machine harvested (not by choice), you don’t get much more hand-made Vale Grenache than this.
Better still, the ‘hand-making’ of this wine took place in an urban winery, with David ‘Vinteloper’ Bowley (he’s actually recorded in my phone like that. Seems fair) crafting this Grenache (and others like it) in a pop-up winery in Adelaide city.
Happily, the wine tastes beautifully alive too, the style light but not skinny, all fruit wine gum sweet fruit, with that aforementioned raspberry/red fruit jelly generosity filling the mid palate nicely. From then on its licoricey and textured, everything finishing bright and juicy, the sandy tannins and rich middle giving away the region to perfection.
A genuinely slurpable, loving Grenache that is great now, but will live for a few years yet, this carries both fruit and enough structure to carry it off. With just 360 bottles available of this delicious wine I can see it going quick…
Score: 18/20 93/100
Would I buy it? Yes