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.

2018 Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Bush Vine Grenache

Comfortable, cuddly and a generous girth but balanced on nimble feet. Reasonably darkly coloured. Gentle but expressive wafts of plum and soil. The palate comes to life with deeply poised dark musky berries, SA coal black and dark chocolate. Structurally this really scores. Beautiful drag of firm ripe tannin that sort of feels a bit whole bunch but could be old vine small berry skins? The acidity’s well settled into the tannin too, yum. So at ease with itself and proud of where it comes from.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $20 special offer for Dan’s members, normally $30 and still a bargain.

93 points.

2018 The Other Wine Co. McLaren Vale Grenache

A little reticent at first for what should be an exuberant South Australian, perhaps it’s only just been squashed into the bottle? Raspberry and wine gums, some sweet baking spices and woody stems. Really bright, clean and properly ripe but holds together with comfortable acidity and firm stem tannins. Gets a lot more talkative over three days of sipping. The back label doesn’t bluster when it says, right grape, right place. Just needs to add it’s also made to express the sense of place which isn’t obscured by oak or over ripeness.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $26.

92 points.

2016 Pájaro de Buen Agüero Cariñena Garnacha

Said it before, say it again, perhaps the best value Grenache on the planet comes from around Zaragoza. This was about ten dollars from Aldi. The same price as a Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero which was nowhere near as interesting as it just tried too hard, all extract and winemaking with not much to say by day two. This, though, was only just medium bodied with its Grenache perfume bumped up by some obvious bubblegum and banana carbonic maceration. Some decent red fruit that held on well over two days, buoyed by good natural acid. Not sure if all the whole berry maceration did all that much to improve things but still a good undercurrent of fruit kept it very drinkable, despite leaving most of the tannin out. A Dan’s own import, 2016 Tocada Garnacha, was deeper fruited, less pushed by enology, more enjoyable and is being cleared for $6! Ludicrous charity from Woolies. Two good Spaniards for $16, happy days.

14% alcohol. Cork, a particularly poor one. $10.

88 points

2017 Borsao Selección Garnacha

Another Woolworth’s direct import from a bit of Spain probably growing the world’s best value Grenache. A small amount of Tempranillo and Shiraz in this too it seems, Clinically clean red musky perfume and well extracted, perhaps a touch too much. Some herbs and a crisp end weigh well against simple rich sweet raspberries and rhubarb. The vibrancy faded by day three. Perhaps no risks in the making or complexity but for so little money a tasty mid week money saver. Doubt the supermarket behemoth is making its shareholders a fortune from a bottle of this.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $11.99.

88 points.

2017 St. John’s Road The Resilient Barossa Valley Grenache

A pleasant punch in the nose of really ripe raspberries, coal dust and woody spice. The flavours are large scaled and deeply fruity without being mawkish and held in place by good comfortable acid and fine graphite, perhaps stemmy, tannin. Once more Grenache looks so at home in the warmth of the Barossa. Maybe it will get richer and less fruit sweet with time but it’s still toothsome now and great value too.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $19.99 at Murphy’s.

93 points.

2016 Cirillo The Vincent Barossa Grenache

One of the great bargains. Very old vines, low yields, hand picked and still $22. This vintage shows the warmth of a fast and early year. Dark red fruits and leathery coal dust. Warm hearted fine tannin and a touch of acid hold it together. Not quite the accumulated fruit depth of 2015 or 2014 but still complex and comfortable.

14.50%. Screw Cap. $22.

92 points.