|6 x 75
Willunga 100 has focused on premium Grenache since its first vintage in 2005. It was the sensitivity to site that Grenache displays in McLaren Vale, that attracted owners David Gleave MW and John Ratcliffe during their first recce to the region. They became determined to showcase the old vine Grenache they came across in vineyard after vineyard, particularly at a time when few took this grape seriously.
Since 2015, Willunga 100 has made two single-vineyard wines, one from Sue Trott’s 80-year-old vineyard in Blewitt Springs and the other from Bernard and Wayne Smart’s century-old vineyard in Clarendon. The same winemaking techniques are used for both wines, involving whole bunch fermentation, ageing on lees in stainless steel for 12 months before bottling and no oak ageing. Compared to Blewitt Springs, Clarendon has a higher elevation and more of a continental climate, with warmer daytime temperatures and cool nights. Bright, floral and perfumed on the nose with red berry fruits, this expression demonstrates the elegance of McLaren Vale Grenache. The vines in Blewitt Springs are planted on ancient sandy soils with an underlying clay and ironstone base. Warm sunny days and moderating sea breezes characterise the climate in this sub-region. The resulting wine has lovely dark cherry aromas on the nose, with richness and roundness on the palate.
From the 2021 vintage the name of each vineyard, brought to life by original winemaker Skye Salter, is acknowledged on the label of these two wines. The 2021 ‘Smart’ won the Grenache trophy at Australia’s National Wine Show in 2023. This is the second time a Willunga Grenache has been honoured with a trophy at the show, as in 2017 the 2015 ‘Trott’ took home Best Alternative Variety. In late 2022 Renae Hirsch took over in the winery. A highly accomplished winemaker, she brings a wealth of experience and a passion for McLaren Vale Grenache.
Willunga 100 purchased the ‘Blind Spot’ vineyard in 2019. This 19-hectare site, in the heart of Blewitt Springs on Maslin sands, has close to eight hectares of old, bush-trained Grenache situated on Moritz Road, within the ‘Hundred of Willunga’. This is the source of Willunga 100’s Grenache and Grenache Rosé, both of which are single vineyard wines. The former has about 15% whole bunch in 2021 vintage, which lifts the naturally aromatic fruit of Grenache grown on Maslin sand, while the latter is pale, dry and, as they say in Australia, ‘smashable’.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from the one hectare vineyard planted by Bernard Smart’s father in 1922 on loamy soils over red-brown clay. Only two producers– one of which is Willunga 100 – take fruit off this block. This is the highest and coolest site in McLaren Vale at 230m above sea level. As a result, the wines are slightly lighter and more lifted than those made from grapes grown in other sub-regions.
The 2021/2022 growing season will be remembered as an excellent one, with a wet winter setting the vines up perfectly for the year ahead. A very mild, but also dry, summer/autumn followed – meaning there was low disease pressure over a very gentle and extended ripening period. Yields were slightly down on average but with other conditions being favourable, the season has resulted in excellent wines showing great varietal character with fresh natural acidity.
The fruit for this wine was hand harvested before being destemmed and sorted into stainless steel open fermenters. The whole berry ferment spent 10 days on skins, during which time it was gently plunged to ensure optimum extraction whilst maintaining the delicate aromatics. The wine was then basket pressed off skins before maturation and malolactic fermentation on lees. This took place mostly in stainless steel in order to retain fruit purity and freshness.
Tasting Notes & Technical Details
A layered and floral nose of fresh lavender, flowering thyme and sage, along with bright red berry and dark cherry fruits. The palate is elegant and complex with characters of savoury cherry fruit, hints of warm spice and wet slate, supported by bright pomegranate-like acidity. It is layered with a fine and lingering finish.
Other wines from this producer
|McLaren Vale Grenache
|McLaren Vale Shiraz/Viognier
|McLaren Vale Cabernet/Shiraz
|`The Tithing` McLaren Vale Grenache
|McLaren Vale Tempranillo
|`The Hundred Blewitt Springs` McLaren Vale Grenache
|McLaren Vale Grenache Rosé