Monday, January 18, 2010

Yelland and Papps 2007 Old Vine Grenache and Teusner 2007 Joshua Grenache Mourvedre Shiraz

In recent years, both Yelland and Papps and Teusner have made impressive and elegant wines based largely on Grenache. This has been irrespective of the quality or heat of the vintage. In an ideal world the style of these Grenache-focused wines would be replicated elsewhere.

During recent tastings at both wineries, what struck me about Kym Teusner and Michael and Susan Papps was their love of Grenache and Mourvedre and this love of the less popular red varieties in the Barossa comes out in the wines they make. Both wineries are not afraid to promote Grenache and let it compete on its own, without being subdued by masses of lower quality Shiraz or coated in super-sweet lashings of new American oak.
Both the Old Vine Grenache and the Joshua are juicy and fruity (primarily raspberries and the red spectrum) with subtle spice and hints of coconut ice. Both wines have enough tannin and length to add substance and avoid flabbiness. Furthermore, both could be served slightly chilled and would go with many food matchings.

Unlike many Australian Grenache, GSM or GMS blends, there is minimal sugary/confiture notes in both wines (eg: the cloying red cordial effect) and the alcohol levels, or impact on the palate, are well controlled (in what was a heat affected vintage).
It comforts me to see that the Joshua (and Teusner GMS blends generally) buck the trend of using close to the same amount of Shiraz as Grenache. I have always felt this is a cynical commercial tactic used to mask poor quality Shiraz and porty Grenache in the one blend (eg: not in the spirit of the Rhone blend).
Such care and enthusiasm for the less appreciated red grapes of the Barossa is encouraging. I would love to see more dry, spicy, age-worthy Grenache being made in the Barossa Valley, and see the grape itself shed its somewhat daggy reputation nationwide. It is a grape that is underappreciated in Australia (virtually unheard of as a single varietal in NSW wine shops), yet has loads of potential in the hands of skilled winemakers like Michael and Susan Papps and Kym Teusner.


Jeremy Pringle said...

Every vintage of the Joshua I've tried has been a treat. And I certainly agree on the ability of good Grenache and GSM to age.

By any chance, have you gotten to taste the Astral Grenache from Teusner?



Brown said...

Hi Jeremy
We were lucky enough to get to taste the Astral Moppa Mataro at the cellar door (which was wonderful), though from memory we did not taste the Grenache. If the quality of the Astral Mataro is anything to go by, the Astral Grenache would be out of this world. The most recent trip to the Barossa really hit home that there are several wine makers out there pushing the boundaries with Grenache and reversing (well-deserved) stereotypes about the grape.


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