2021 The Grenache Project Set
Description: Each vintage Artisans of Barossa present six wines, made by six winemakers, from one Barossa vineyard ~ in an experiment designed to explore the influence of winemaking on the terroir of a single Barossa Grenache vineyard. The Project has received acclaim from some of Australia's most respected wine commentators, and each new release is eagerly anticipated.
The Grenache Project is firstly an exercise in allocating a single row of a Barossa Grenache vineyard to each of six Artisan winemakers. They are then left entirely to their own devices when it comes to what happens next. We let them off the leash, and grant free rein with a simple brief...’Make a Grenache you’d like to drink.’ This year we welcome new Artisans, Daniel Hartwig and Theo Engela from Chaffey Bros. Wine Co., joined by Jason Schwarz, John and James Lienert, Craig Stansborough and Mark Slade, Greg and Allison Hobbs and Peter Schell. In 2021 we were fortunate to access fruit from a new vineyard location – the Rosenzweig Vineyard – located on the corner of Research Road and Vine Vale Road.
Peter Schell from Spinifex Wines captures this beautifully; “What we’re doing with the Grenache Project is really bloody important. It’s symbolic of the commitment of artisan winemakers and growers to exhibit the best of their craft and showcase the best expressions of the region’s ancient soils with a variety so deeply rooted in our viticultural heritage and so clearly suited to this place. The growing profile of Barossa Grenache is to me a sign of the maturing of a new generation of winemakers and wine drinkers. They respect the landscape and what it’s best able to produce, rather than imposing the will of the market upon it to yield the latest fashionable variety. By doing our best to make delicious wine, we hope to nurture new audiences for these brilliant heritage varieties.”
Grape Variety: Grenache
Region: Barossa Valley, Vine Vale
The Rosenzweig Vineyard:
The vineyard was purchased by James in 1996 where he immediately set about establishing a nutrient soil base for the vineyard by applying compost, clay and natural supplement. The Grenache vines are trained onto a single wire with a single cordon and hand pruned to 24 buds per vine. Typically yielding in 2021, 2.5 tonnes per acre, the grape berries are described as medium-sized. The combination of site, vine age and microclimatic conditions in the Rosenzweig Vineyard produces Grenache that is perfumed and vibrant while having great intensity and interest.
Planted in 1969, the Rosenzweig Family Vineyard is situated at the intersection of Vine Vale and Research Roads. The vineyard is positioned on a flat piece of land at an altitude of 283 metres above sea level, with rows that run east-west in direction. The Grenache vines are planted on their own roots, in beach sand over yellow / red clay soils which run deep into the profile. The vineyard is managed by James Rosenzweig who has a sustainable approach to grape growing, who dry grows the vineyard and only uses supplementary irrigation in very dry years. He also believes in no herbicides and manages vine competition with blade and tillage techniques.
The story of the 2021 Barossa vintage was very much of quality over quantity, with yields across the region down on the long-term average and a cooler climate due to the weather system, La Niña.
This created a cooler climate and a mild ripening process, giving the grape phenolic ripeness, a lower Baume and allowing for the levels of natural acidity to be maintained well. And whilst 2021 may have delivered plenty of unwanted weather events, that didn’t extend to the harvest conditions in Barossa which were near perfect.
Through the post veraison period leading into harvest, the Barossa experienced consistently below-average daytime temperatures and plenty of cool nights. The crop ripened slowly and evenly, and the quality of the fruit delivered to the wineries in March was exceptional.
Reviews & Awards: New Release - October 2022
Past critical acclaim:
“There are all manner of groups and initiatives that have proposed a collective yet individual approach to a winemaking schemata, but by my reckoning none so far where a single vineyard of grenache has been explored through the lens of six, diverse winemakers.”
- Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, January 2018
“Grenache is the grape of the moment, at least in the warmer regions of South Australia... The Artisans of Barossa Grenache Project is in many ways the culmination of this obsession. The wines sold out long ago, but the six winemakers who share the Artisans of Barossa cellar door released six 2017 grenaches which demonstrate just how strongly the winemaker’s thumbprint can trump terroir, at least while wine is very young... Each treatment yielded a wine that is different from every other wine. All are interesting, several sublime.”
- Huon Hooke, TheRealReview.com, April 2018.
“Artisans of Barossa are a bunch of like-minded souls from six wineries who share a goal to 'promote small batch, sub-regional winemaking'. They collaborated last year on Grenache Project 2017... And let me tell you, they made six glorious Grenache."
- James Halliday, Weekend Australian Magazine.