The Vagabond Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, 2014
Although we might be somewhat deluded in our belief that the world is just about to wake up to the delights of Grenache, our extensive travels throughout The Rhone and in Spain convinced us that with low yields and meticulous fruit sourcing, Grenache makes world class wine.
We're also convinced that, of all of the regions of Australia, the greatest potential for greatness is in the McLaren Vale.
We therefore set about finding unique plots throughout the region, looking for specific soil formations that would embue the Vagabond with finesse, varietal purity and texture
2014 was not a straightforward vintage for McLaren Vale and particularly for Grenache. A relatively normal, if dry season became alarmingly hot in January with extreme temperature which in less well air drained sites, cooked the fruit. February came with fruit ripening accelerating until the deluge began. For thinner skinned varieties such as Pinot and Grenache this proved to be a problem with many examples of fruit split and rot. Careful thining of the fruit with well aerated canopies allowed us to ripen fruit properly through to early April when we picked beautiful, small berries of delicious old vine Grenache.
In 2014, the fruit for the Vagabond came from the Blewitt Springs subregion of McLaren Vale. The fruit from a single vineyard in Blewitt Springs is from 70 year old, dry grown, bush vines planted in deep sands with some ironstone.
The Blewitt Springs fruit was hand picked, gently crushed to retain whole berries and then cold soaked for 5 days prior to fermentation. Twice daily hand plunging during fermentation was followed by gentle pressing before running to 500 litre puncheons. 20% new French oak was used, with the balance being made up of used French.
A savage selection was made after 6 months ageing with the selection exhibiting pure, lifted raspberry and savoury strawberry fruit couped with subtle spices and a creamy texture.
The overwhelming impression is of lightness, lift and purity with hints of dried citrus, spice and cherry. Not for nothing is Grenache known as the Pinot of the South!