-7-Grenache can’t be explained by alcohol levels alone Grenache prefers hot and dry weather, and tends to have a high sugar level due to late ripening. As a result, it often has a high level of alcohol leading to its ‘deep colour, sweet and heavy’ image, characterized by softness, body and low tannins, so it is often blended with strong tannic varietals such as Syrah to round them out. Mr. Iguro questions the commonly held image of Grenaches, commenting: “Are we judging it by alcohol levels? As modern cuisine tends towards lighter food, wines are becoming lighter as well. However, the “big wine = high alcohol content” connection may be a short circuit. There are distinct advantages to having high alcohol including a silky roundness in the mouthfeel and a long nish.” In fact Mr. Iguro’s keyword for all four Grenaches in this tasting was ‘silky.’ He commented: “If the attractions of Pinot Noir are in the bouquet, for Grenache it is in the mouth. All these wines, both young and mature, have a silky mouthfeel.”A change is sweeping Grenache’s image in Australia, part of a move in Australian wine described by British wine journalist Jamie Good as “from dense, opaque, sweetly-fruited red wines towards lighter, more drinkable reds with a prettier personality.” A handful of skilled winemakers are now making lighter-coloured, perfumed, elegant Grenache wines with freshness and good structure. To explore this change we tasted four Grenache wines from winemakers who specialize in the varietal, with young sommelier Taku Iguro who represented Japan at the 2018 A.S.I. Asia-Oceania Best Sommelier Competition.TastingReportAncient Grenache bush vines(Yangarra Estate Vineyard)©Yangarra Estate VineyardImage Transformation - Silky and Elegant GrenacheCODE11016RRP ¥2,500Origin: Barossa Valley, South Australia Alc. 14.5%Varietal: Grenache 60%, Mataro 35%, Shiraz 5%Made from 100-year old Grenache and Mataro vines in the Ebenezer district, with a splash of Shiraz from 20-year-old vines in Gomersal in the Barossa Valley. It oers rich pure fruit aromas and avours without the use of oak, aged in a stainless steel tank for 3 months, before a light lter and bottling.TeusnerJoshua 2018(S)Pure with no oak! Fresh blueberries, violets and lavender with gamey meat. This explosive oralness, similar to Cornas in the Rhone, provides surprise and delight from the very rst sip. Even young, the tannins are already smooth and well-integrated. Discover another attrac-tion of Grenache ‒ “juicy.” (Iguro)CODE10572RRP  ¥3,250Origin: McLaren Vale, South Australia Varietal: Grenache 100% Alc. 14.2%Made from old and abandoned, low-yielding vineyards that d’Arenberg acquired and regenerated when Grenache was considered unfashionable. Two thirds of the way through fermentation it is foot trod, then basket pressed to gently extract the tannins. Aged for 12 months in old French and American oak with no ning or ltration before bottling. d’ArenbergDerelict Grenache 2013(S)I was overwhelmed by the dense aromas, and my expectations were fullled by the glamourous mouthfeel. There is also a feeling of completeness with six years of aging, in the pleasant texture and ne tannins. The nish reveals black mushrooms, prune chutney and ripe avours. A loving wine that reveals the joys of Grenache. (Iguro)CODE10818RRP  ¥5,000Origin: McLaren Vale, South Australia Varietal: Grenache 100% Alc. 14.5% Yangarra’s biodynamic certied vineyards located at 200m altitude are noted for their dry-farmed bush vines planted in 1946 in ancient sands that overlie the North Maslin geology. The fruit underwent wild yeast fermentation, was aged in old French oak barrels for 10 months, and bottled with no ning. Yangarra Estate VineyardOld Vine Grenache 2016(S)Sweet aromas of ripe fruit, and unlike many wines in which this presages a sweet fruit palate, it is surprisingly dry. This is the product of a rm acid to support the body’s fullness, complemented by the pleasant cocoa powder aftertaste of the tannins, with a savoury avour of roasted coee beans on the nish. (Iguro)CODE10251RRP  ¥5,200Origin: Sierra Foothills, California Alc. 14.9%Varietal: Grenache 73%, Mourvedre 14%, Syrah 13%Terre Rouge’s agship, the Grenache vineyard is located at an altitude of 600m in Placer County, planted in red granite soil with budwood from Chateau Rayas, Beaucastel and Remelluri in Rioja. Aged for 18 months in old 500L barrels, and in the bottle for 24 months more before release.Terre RougeL’Autre 2010The complexity is amazing! With wild roses, mulch, Darjeeling tea leaves, pes de vigne (red peach esh), it is so irresistible you feel envious. In the mouth it is supremely powerful, with strong tannins and crisp acids it won’t lose out to younger wines any time soon. Combining elegance and suppleness, it is a great wine to serve to rened palates. (Iguro)

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