Tonight I drank a strange mix of reds.
First up, the remainder of a bottle of McLaren Grenache, a 2002 Gibson's Old Vine Collection. This is a production focussed company - to stay with the theme - of first principles. The winemaker Rob Gibson is really a viticulturalist and his passion is to find old vines and improve them to their potential. He found these neglected old bush vines and produced a beautiful wine in a favorable year.
The wine has sweet flavours, of strawberry and plum, but a good backbone (critical for a top quality Grenache) and a savoury, tannic finish - nicely balanced.
Then I opened a 2000 Chateau Bernadotte. This is a cheapy in Bordeaux terms, but can be a very good wine in a good vintage. And so it proves here. It is not as full as a South Australian red, but displays good redcurrant fruit with some bite, and a smooth finish.
This comparison comes down to the role you want the wine to play: the Grenache will be an equal partner to food, the Bernadotte will play more of a support role. As I am typing this, I am having another glass of the Bordeaux on its own and I wished I had some Grenache left. However, the Bordeaux supported the food beautifully.