Three Brian's Grenache vine

Grenache the “Barossa Pinot”

Friday the 18th of September 2015 marks International Grenache Day and since it just happens to be one of our favourite varieties grown here in the Barossa, the crew here at Izway wines are justifiably excited!

In this neck of the woods, we like to think of Grenache as “Barossan Pinot” and it is a variety that provides a beautiful counterpoint to the more robust varieties grown in the region such as Shiraz and Mataro. In our opinion, Grenache is the variety that is most suited to the lean soils and warm climate of the Barossa and its thin skin and delicate, spiced perfume certainly requires a gentler hand in the winery than the more robust varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mataro.

The grapes origin is still in dispute. For many years it was thought to have hailed from Spain where it is known as Garnacha, most likely Aragón in the north-east. But more recently the Italians have laid claim to the variety claiming it comes from the island of Sardegna where it goes by the name of Cannonau.

Jancis Robinson in her encyclopaedic tome “Wine Grapes” mentions “ From the historical point of view, both hypotheses are equally plausible because commercial and cultural links between the two regions are so well established. In addition written references to Garnacha & Cannonau both appeared around the same time in the early 1500s”. I think we’ll let them fight that battle out and just concentrate on making the stuff!

It is grown widely across the wine world. In France it is the countries second-most planted variety after Merlot and stars in the wines from the Rhone Valley (most famously Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Côtes du Rhône) and the Languedoc-Roussillon. In Italy it is grown in Sardegna and Veneto; in Spain it is widespread but most prominent in the regions of Castilla y León, Rioja, Catalunya, Navarra and Valencia. The U.S. also has plantings but it is here in Australia, and in particular the Barossa, that we like to think Grenache is best.

We are lucky enough to have access to some fantastic vines here in the Barossa. The amazing fruit from the gnarled bush-vines from our own home block in Seppeltsfield, planted in 1901 make their way into our flagship Grenache the Izway “Three Brians”. Our other straight Grenache, the Izway Maurice features fruit from the red clays of the Materne vineyard in Greenock planted in the 1950s. In celebration we are releasing the 2014 Three Brian’s which is available for purchase in our web store along with the 2013 Maurice.

So on Friday the 18th of September, get involved and enjoy a glass or two of Grenache. On social media you can  join in the conversation and use the hashtags #GrenacheDay and #Grenache on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Make sure you follow us on Instagram and don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtags.

Bring on the celebration of Grenache!

David Brooks