When Swinney first planted bush vine grenache in Frankland River, many said they were mad, that it wouldn’t ripen. Well, here’s compelling evidence that not only does it, but that it can make a wine of rare character. A complex array of sour red and black fruits are accented with rugged dry herbs and a rocky minerality, with Swinney’s signature assertive tannins tightening through the finish.
Sour red and black fruits, plum, dark cherry, wild raspberry, blackberry and the like form a complex web of flavour with dark spices, rocky minerality and a dusty earthiness across a mid-ish-weight palate. Savouriness and flesh are present in equal measure, with a ridge of minerals carried along the fine but assertive tannins. This is as serious as it is engagingly delicious.
Themes of this wine
The great grape of the Southern Rhône, grenache, has also found many homes around the world, from Spain, to Italy, to California, while Australia is home to the world’s oldest productive grenache vines, planted in 1948. Today, a renaissance is seeing the grape championed, with makers in McLaren Vale arguably turning out the most compelling examples.
A subregion of Western Australia’s sprawling Great Southern, Frankland River is in the north-west corner of the region. Although it is inland, cooling sea breezes carry across the subregion, moderating the warm days, while the nights are cool, making for wines of intensity and freshness. The regional heroes are riesling, shiraz and the cabernet family.
There are many ways to trellis a grapevine, but one of the oldest methods of pruning requires no support from stakes or wires. The vines are simply pruned into a bush or goblet shape fairly low to the ground. They are often a feature of warmer regions, as they are suited to being dry grown, but they are very labour intensive.
Read more about Swinney’s bush vines, here.