2020 Torzi Matthews Francesca Grillo Collina Calcarea Syrah

An unlikely looking sparkling wine bottle sealed with a beer bottle thing called a crown seal, I think? Thought I better have a try after reading a great review on Winefront and subsequent funny comments from its maker about doing what your mum tells you. Yes, mum. In the early days of Charlie Melton and his amusing translation of CNdP as Nine Popes, I must admit to enjoying Barossa Shiraz in its very primary, just fermented, squishy berried deliciousness. So it is with this no sulphur youngster. Yes, summer pudding berries, dripping with sweet juice, no hint of over ripeness. Full and exceedingly generous. After a couple of days, it just got better. Added to those berries, there’s the sweet, tarry earth and spice of quality Australian Shiraz with flickers of sage and salt bush, all bound by fresh natural feeling grape acidity and tannins like wine filtered through a layered pile of rocks. Such poise, no hint of yeasty funk or oxidation, maybe just a hint of fresh sourdough? Maybe this is the essence of quality Barossa the great RP fell for those years ago? Always do what your mum says.

13.5% alcohol. Crownseal, first for me. $35 RRP

94 maybe 95 as Winefront says, no argument here.

2019 Saltram Winemaker’s Selection Barossa Valley Fiano

Another example of trying to find varieties more suited to a warm and getting warmer climate, this time a favourite Italian suited to food from the ocean. It starts with typically Italian white wine neutrality. No fruit depth charge here. There’s smells of warm beds of chamomile in the sun, warm rocks, sweet hay and nuts, all quite savoury. A pleasing roundness in the mouth kept cool and in line by large textured acidity. Good tension, wide and generous but well contained. Lees lend creamy glycerol and a dab of bitter sulphide adds a tang. Well put together by the big player in Australian wine, again. Lumbering corporation with deft fingers. Impressive.

13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. Part of six bottle mystery pack for $90 from TWE largesse or just largeness.

90 points

2015 Purple Hands Old Vine Barossa Grenache

More Barossa Burgundy in the glass for want of a better reference. Just light to medium bodied, that old coal cellar dust, more Barossa than Burgundy, sweet red fruit above. All carried on ripe woody stem tannin and fine natural feeling acidity. Great approach to the making, less is more, gentle. Plenty of perfume but some more depth wouldn’t go amiss. Whilst there’s all sorts of conversations about Pinot Noir clones, it would be interesting to see more out there about Grenache selections, some made long ago in South Australia. Some new grafting or planting from Spanish stock would be something to talk about.

14% alcohol. Screw cap, 596 gms of glass. $30 at auction.

91 graceful points.

2019 Cirillo The Vincent Grenache

Another vintage of The Vincent and it’s proving to be a stalwart in value and quality. Opens quietly with gentle scents of musk, rose oil and then gains some traction with raspberry liqueur, toffee, spice and carbon. Twenty four patient hours later and there’s more spice and fine detail. Wide perfumed lift of rose and red fruit. The acidity and tannin buffered by a washy haze that’s floats the fruit so well. Warm pleasure on a cold night but detailed and thought provoking too. Cracking.

14% alcohol. Screw cap. $22.

93 points.

2014 Cirillo The Vincent Grenache

Enjoyed this on release so much that three bottles found their way into the stack of cardboard loosely described as a cellar. Some of the early musky exuberance has gone to be replaced by a soft detailed deliciousness. Dried rose petals, sweet raspberries and a graphite tug to finish. No bombast but a quiet sense of right grape in the right place. It’s the calm balance of properly flavour-ripe berries, earthy undertones, fine satin tannin and gentle acidity that has you back for another sip. Beautiful growing and sensitive in the making. Great generosity in the pricing too.

14% alcohol. Screw cap. About $21 on release, bargain for wine from 80 year old vines.

93 points.

2013 Sons of Eden Kennedy Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre

Accidentally typed Soms of Eden, appropriate typo perhaps as this is just the sort of real Barossa that I like to drink. A few years rest in the bottle have rounded and sweetened the beautifully rich flavours. Blackberry, perfumed with cherry, plums and aniseed underpinned by Barossa carbon and coal dust. A veritable symphony that swells with deeply meaningful fruit in its last movement. The blend again is more than the sum of its parts, Grenache the treble, Shiraz the middle and spicy too, Mourvèdre the bass. Warm, rich and generous Barossa at its best. Old Joe in the hat on the label would be as happy as if that were a jazz roll up.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $27 on release.

94 points.

2012 Purple Hands Wines Old Vine Barossa Valley Grenache

Lurking amongst the investment heavy labels on Langton’s wine auction website, you can sometimes find less coveted varieties and labels that don’t attract a bid and behold, a bargain pops up. Increasingly earlier and warmer vintages are highlighting how well the old Grenache vines are handling the warming. 2012 is perhaps seen as one of the cooler seasons since 2000 but there’s no lack of ripeness here. As the dusty bottle development clears, yes it does seem like red wine changes under a screwcap, sweet raspberry, aniseed and fruit and nut chocolate emerge. Maybe a bit of herby whole bunch pulls the fruit into line? Tasty resolved mouthful of the same fruit, spice and chocolate with just a twist of Barossa dark carbon. Perfectly ripe fruit, a swish of tannin and comfortable acidity. Probably developed as far as it’s going but still frisky as it plateaus. Worth the punt at auction in between the traded labels; this actually ended up in a glass.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $14 at auction, probably about $30 on release. Happy.

92 points.

2018 Whistler ‘Get In My Belly’ Grenache

You have to like a wine with such a suitable imperative instruction and it was my belly indeed via a very satisfactory olfactory interlude! Well pitched smells of musky rose, whole berry ripe cherry and raspberry, woody stalk and dark carbon, all singing in harmony. A good depth of fruit develops and there’s a satisfying mid weight mouthful all knitted together by natural bright acidity and woody stem tannin. Good grapes grown in a place where they seem happy and made into wine in a sensitive and thoughtful way, what more do you want, eh belly?

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $35

94 points.

2018 Cirillo The Vincent Grenache

It’s unusual for the words finesse and Barossa to appear in the same sentence but it can’t be avoided here. Perfect musky, red fruit ripeness. Some whole berries in the ferment push the plush brightness and a fine phenolic grip keep the scales perfectly balanced. All the good bits of Grenache grown where it’s happy and no awkward heat, green acid or tannin. It just flows gently, builds sweet fruit and then waves bye with some graceful grip. It’ll be fascinating to see how it ages. Will it get deeper fruited or just lose its brightness? Venerable vines, great purity and just over a twenty. Heart warming generosity.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $22!

94 points.

2012 Grant Burge The Holy Trinity Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre

Appropriate bottle for Easter. Bright raspberry, cherry and spice with a touch of seasonal chocolate. Nice mid weight balance and some length carried on acidity and tannin which are tucked comfortably into the generous fruit. Cooler year freshness has kept this tidy perhaps? Not much Barossa coal dust or leather, more pure gentle ripeness. This makes a formidable argument for the benefit of blending those Rhône companions. Probably not a good match for sweet choccy eggs though.

14% alcohol. Diam, which looks like it did good. Thanks for sharing!

93 points.