Having returned for its second year, the James Halliday Grenache Challenge again explored varietal grenache wines from across Australia in a competition that both celebrated the variety, and awarded excellence.
Seventy-nine exhibitors gathered from around the country offering a wide selection of grenache styles. A total of 118 wines were entered, which were then tasted by James Halliday and a panel of credited judges.
Exceptional examples from across the landscape were sought out for the tasting, encouraging Australian grenache winemakers to bring their distinctive approaches to light.
The 2017 Blood Brother Republic McLaren Vale Grenache was crowned the winner this year, with a rating of 98 points, followed by the 2017 Z Wine Rustica at 97 points.
Other notable gold medallists include the 2015 D'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard (96 points), the 2018 Z Wine Rustica (96 points), the 2017 Thistledown She’s Electric (95 points), the 2017 Aphelion Wine Co Confluence Grenache (95 points), the 2017 Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache (95 points), and the 2015 Willunga 100 The Hundred Blewitt Springs Single Vineyard Grenache (95 points).
James said: "The eight grenache wines that were in contention for the best overall and best regional awards are a brilliant testimony to all that modern-day grenache has to offer." He added: "Lifted, perfumed red fruits and hints of spice of the bouquets were mirrored by vibrant, supple palates, with a seamless flow of varietal fruits ranging through red cherry, strawberry and raspberry. The wines achieved these wonderful flavours at moderate alcohol levels, making them a pleasure to drink."