Monday, January 18, 2010
Yelland and Papps 2007 Old Vine Grenache and Teusner 2007 Joshua Grenache Mourvedre Shiraz
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.