Grenache - the Pinot Noir of the south - is an excellent and underrated variety. Unlike Syrah, which is a big, bold, reductive variety, Grenache is a bit of a hide-in-the-background grape. It makes wines that could be dismissed, on first impressions, as inconsequential and light. But look a little deeper and you'll see that in fact these wines are multifaceted and thought provoking. They just take a bit of getting to know.
I like Barossa Grenache a good deal, with my favourites including those from Troy Kalleske, Kym Teusner and Torbreck. Tonight I'm sipping one from Yalumba, described as a bush vine Grenache from 70 year old vines. Grenache, it seems, can never be just Grenache. It has to be 'old vine' or 'bush vine', or some other such laudatory descriptor, or people will probably just ignore it. Rather than blend it with Shiraz and Mourvedre, I think there should be more straight varietal Grenaches made.
This one has lovely pure, sweet red fruits with a silky texture and some earthy, grainy tannins. It's spicy and peppery - even a bit meaty. There's a hint of cinnamon on the nose. Matured in old French oak, it doesn't have any noticeable oak influence beyond just a hint of sweet vanilla right in the background. Not a wine to have an immediate impact, but a rewarding one if you persevere.