Grenache and associated blends are arguably the best value-for-money red wines in Australia. At a time when almost every Aussie winery seems determined to produce a super-expensive bottle (does anybody ever buy these, let alone drink them?), there is still good value in the shops for those who are discerning. Grenache has always been a poor relation in this country, a neglected grape that was seldom bottled solo but usually blended with the other southern Rhone Valley grapes shiraz, mourvedre (mataro) and occasionally cinsault. Red Cotes-du-Rhone set the precedent: with the exception of the regional hero, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it was always cheap. Contrast the ratings with the prices on these.
Arakoon Vale Cru Full Bodied Red 2017, McLaren Vale $20
This grenache, shiraz, mataro is a slightly rustic blend with generous alcohol but you get a lot of wine for very little money. It's dark and has a slightly raisiny bouquet that is layered and quite complex, thanks to some age. It's super-ripe and savoury with a trace of oak char; in the mouth, exuberantly full-bodied and dense, with concentration and grip, power and length, finishing with chewy tannins. Screw-cap; 15 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to nine years.
Stockists include: nakedwines.com.au (NSW); Olinda Cellars and Doc's Liquor, Ringwood North (Vic).
Peter Lehmann The Bond Grenache 2018, Barossa Valley $25
This is a serious grenache, and amazing value. The colour is a deep, bright red-purple, the bouquet lifted and sweetly fragrant – raspberry fruit and spices with oak-char supporting. It's savoury and full of interest, with a good backbone of firm tannins in harmony with the whole. Rich, medium-full bodied and satisfying, with a long carry. Screw-cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 12 years.
Stockists include: Red Bottle and Chambers Cellars (NSW); Jim Murphy's (ACT); Matthew's Liquor (Vic).
Woodstock The Octogenarian Grenache 2017, McLaren Vale $32
The colour is deep and promising, the bouquet leathery and savoury with complexities derived from maturation, and the wine is full-bodied, intense and quite drying towards the finish, the tannins quite serious for a pure grenache. It has mysterious depths, great flavour, concentration and volume. A top grenache. Screw-cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to 16 years.
Stockists include: simplywines.net.au (Vic); Sydney Wine Beer Spirits, Terrey Hills (NSW).