The great all-rounder… The Christmas/New Year’s period brought all kinds of people to my place each craving a tipple… of course being the gracious host I found myself asking ‘what sort of red would you prefer?...’ on one occasion I didn’t think this through too well because all I had was two bottles of Hamilton Burtons Vineyard Grenache 2010… enter the inner rascal in me that thought it would be fun to put this wine through its paces… interesting exercise, here’s what happened… ‘… something fruity but not too heavy’ – verdict, ‘wow, what’s this? This is lovely’ Next ‘… something full bodied but not too tannic’ – verdict, ‘this is fantastic! What’s the grape variety?’ Finally ‘…anything as long as it’s not grenache’ – verdict, ‘you arsehole! This is Grenache!’ Conclusion… Two out of three isn’t bad but on reflection I’m claiming a clean sweep because the last guest knew what she was talking about and that just tells me that this Grenache is as wonderfully varietal as I always experience it, full of red and blue fruits, powdery tannins and a lingering finish. My Grenache love affair started several years ago when my father pulled out a 1976 D’Arenberg Red Stripe Burgundy on my 19th birthday, he loaded the dice a bit saying “son, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” which surely meant I had to like it didn’t it? As it turned out I raved about this wine because it had an inviting aroma of sweet fruits that more than compensated for the earthy flavour I didn’t quite understand at the time. This was a welcome change to the pungent aroma of inky ‘claret’ that wafted from the dining room at my parents dinner parties during the 70s and 80s. Back then as a kid I thought I’d never like red wine if it all smelled and tasted like that! Early in my wine career Grenache based wines featured heavily during my transition to what many folk these days refer to as “the serious stuff”, full bodied shiraz and cabernet, but Grenache continues to impress me with its versatility, both in weight and flavour. Whether it’s a fruity rose, the G in GSM providing the lift, the beast or beauty that is dry Grenache or the sweet juicy fruit in so many tawny ports. There are many manifestations of the same, here are a few… 2012 Dandelion Grenache Rose – made from 85 year old Barossa Grenache vines this wine boasts complexity not often attributed to rose. As it warms up it shows aromas of raspberries, cream and citrus over a palate only slightly tempered with residual sweetness. It’s all fruit and nothing but the fruit. 2010 Turkey Flat Butchers Block Red – whilst this wine boasts the intensity and richness of Barossa Shiraz the addition of Grenache and Mataro gives this wine enough lift to enjoy now and is serious enough to serve with roast beef served and my naughty mushrooms (email firstname.lastname@example.org for naughty mushroom recipe). 2010 Hamilton Burtons Vineyard Grenache – made from the ancient vines tended by Burton himself this wine offers a buffet of cherries, pepper and spice underpinned by subtle cedary oak and fine grained tannins. One for the cellar. Grenache can be a great many things and every good cellar/wine rack should have a few bottles on standby.