Sunday, January 06, 2008

1998 Clarendon Hills Grenache Clarendon Vineyard

I can't say I hate Grenache like my friend Lyle, but I am certainly not as "into" the grape as I used to be. However, I have a few special bottles of grenache and I wanted to open it as a treat for my father-in-law, a grenache-lover. This wine, from (arguably) Australia's best maker of grenache, was not a disappointment.

The 1998 Clarendon Hills Old Vine Grenache (Clarendon Vineyard) was garnet red, almost brick-red in the glass, visually showing signs of its age. The nose began with almond extract and a gravelly/minerally structure, cheese (pecorino with truffles), spring flowers, cherries, mint, leather, and copious spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and liquorice). Coffee and some prunes as well, an olfactory delight! On the palate it was rich, velvety tannin and crisp berry fruit, with a nice lengthy finish and not showing the 15% alcohol as much as one might expect. Much less dense and fruity than my most recent Clarendon grenache. Classy, flavourful, this could be the best pure grenache around.
cork. 15% alcohol
Score: 18.5/20
Price: C$47.70 (SAQ)

(Note:
and enjoyed at one of our formal tastings)

8 comments:

Kulpreet said...

Grenache, is an intersting grape to be bottled into a wine.

Came across you blog from David's. Interesting! Would get back more often. Best wishes for a great 2008.

Marcus said...

Cheese...

I've noted this before and last night I got it again. And I think I had an epiphany (time-appropriate, isn't it?). Cheese flavour comes from wood, would you say? I only get strong cheesy flavours like blue cheese or hard Italian cheeses on New World, heavily-oaked wines. Chilean, South African cabs come to mind.

Coffee (and cream too) are other ones I got last night. These come from wood too, or wood chips maybe, or maybe even added smoke (can you add smoke extract to wine?)

Joe said...

Hi Kulpreet - Thanks for your comments - will try to post some more grenache.

Marcus - I think the cheese is more of an age thing, maybe even a vineyard yeast thing, but I don't think it comes from the wood - I tend to get them from old world burgs rather than new world - the factory removes the cheese smell. Cream may also come from the malolactic - I find oak and vanilla, but every nose is different. I don't think you can add smoke, but no need - the toasting of the oak will give you that, and pump the wine full of sulphites.

Marcus said...

I read Bill's column on acid in wine after posting this -- good point.

Maybe it is lactic acid... But if I understood Bill, it would be unusual for a New World wine to have pronounced lactic acid, because it is the result of malolactic fermentation which is more of a cooler climate winemaking trait.

Could it be tartaric acid that is added to make the wine zingier?

Lloyd said...

Joe - you'll recall that I brought a bottle of this to the CDP tasting a few years back...you liked it even more than I did, it was blogged in your Chateauneuf du Pape Tasting - April 2005...happy to still have 8 bottles lying in wait!

Joe said...

Hi Marcus - sorry I took so long getting back to you, but I wanted to re-read Bill's column and some other publications. I always thought of malolactic as 'manipulation', if you will, and I thought it was more "new world" than old world (I heard lots of talk in Napa and Sonoma about it), but Bill said the the opposite. It seems like the French developed it, but it is used elsewhere. Chardonnay is a grape that seems to frequently get this process - when you think of buttery California chardonnay they are using malo. Anyway, I don't think a new world grenache is likely to see malo, so my previous comment is probably wrong. I know the Aussies add acid to their low end wines, but I doubt they are adding acid to the high end stuff like this - maybe Edward knows?
Thanks for the reminder, Lloyd, I will add a link...

Marcus said...

Hey Joe,

I was in Toronto, so I'm just reading this now...

Brought back a Pato!

DJC said...

I love your photo's (if you want to cross publish see my site www.iwillknow.jesaurai.net) but back onto Grenache I love it I had a Henschke years ago and that got me hooked. I recall speaking to a winemaker in Heathcote who hated everything about it but respected Henschke for as she said "they can make anything taste good". I had a Barossa from 50 yo bush vines (review here: http://iwillknow.jesaurai.net/?p=195 ) when back in Adelaide and for under $20 a bottle it is the best BBQ wine.