Although not limited to the grape, Rob Mack has made the renaissance of grenache something of a personal mission. ‘Rapture’ is the Aphelion pinnacle bottling, a wine made up of the best parcels in the best years, and the 2021 is at once vibrant and brooding, with notes of cherry, cranberry and rhubarb, layered in with wild herbs and earthy notes that channel through a finely pitched palate.
This is an elegant and refined expression of grenache, but it’s also loaded with flavour and detail. Red fruits are the drive, with macerated strawberries, morello cherries, cranberries, rhubarb and plump wild raspberries to the fore, but some darker berry notes kick in, too, with orange peel, earthy humus and briary wild herb notes complexing. Supple, sneakily fine tannin cinches the wine in discretely, the flavours fanning out through the finish. This is proof positive of why grenache is now considered one of Australia’s most exciting varieties.
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.
While it couldn’t feel any more removed from city life, the McLaren Vale wine region is inside Adelaide’s metropolitan area. And although the township itself is only 40 minutes by car from central Adelaide and vineyards brush up against ever-encroaching housing, McLaren Vale remains unaffected by the urban sprawl. With deeply etched history, the Vale has a slow-paced sense of calm and an extraordinary wealth of untrammelled beauty. It is home to some of this country’s most beautifully pristine beaches, as well as some of the world’s most forward-thinking grape-growers and winemakers. And with over 80 cellar doors, it is an essential destination for wine lovers – and anyone else, for that matter.