There are two challenges with Grenache. The first is about flavour. To make this variety interesting, it needs to have some savoury characteristics, not just a sweet raspberry or lollipop flavour. The second has to do with ripening. Grenache has to be fully ripe, but when the grapes get there, the alcohol shoots up really fast. Picking at just the right moment is crucial.
The 2016 Turkey Flat Grenache won the Jimmy Watson Trophy for the best one year old wine in Australia. It is the most prestigious trophy in the country. This was the first for Turkey Flat and, I believe, the first for Grenache. A few years on, I am keen to find out if the judges got it right.
This wine is made from nearly 100 year old vines from the home block of Turkey Flat. The flavour profile is complex. Raspberry fruit is there, but also dark berry notes, mocca and smoky flavours. There is good concentration in this full-bodied wine. ✔️ on the first requirement.
The wine feels round and fills the mouth well, balanced by firm tannins. But then on the back palate it happens. A slight alcoholic hotness. I look at the label: 15% alcohol. Some Grenache can take this, but it is a bit much in this wine. As a result the finish of this otherwise interesting wine is somewhat out of balance.