2021 St. Hugo Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, Barossa Valley, Australia (Alcohol 14.5%, Residual Sugar 3 g/l) LCBO Vintages $39.95 (750ml bottle)

Well, isn’t this a bit of an anomaly? I find myself recommending a wine from the Barossa two weeks in a row.

As much as I have a long history of thoroughly enjoying blends like this (from all over the globe), it is so rare that I come across a GSM with this degree of finesse. It’s an incredibly tightly-knit wine: the integration between the three grapes of the cépage is a true delight, with the approximately 62% Grenache providing the elegance and spice and the Shiraz and Mataro (AKA Mourvédre and Monastrell) supplying the power.

The 80-ish-year-old Grenache vines are the real star here, being sourced from vineyards in both the north and south of the Barossa Valley. The fruit from the north end comes from very sandy soil, bringing about lots of spicy, raspberry, and floral characteristics. The parcel from the south comes from atypically gravelly, schisty soil, which adds dark berry fruit and graphite notes to the mix.

The bouquet on this beauty really opens up with some time in the glass. I found loads of ripe hedgerow fruits (think of brambles, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants) as well as some gorgeous spice elements. The oak is seriously dialled back here, allowing the delightfully spicy fruit to shine.

For me, the palate was where this wine really won me over, with beautifully silky, smooth tannins. At 14.5%, it’s still well balanced, juicy, and seriously a million miles removed from many of the Australian jammy booze bombs I’ve had over the years. The mid and back palate are both decidedly savoury, with an almost salty black liquorice element trailing out into a deliciously long chalky finish.

According to winemaker Peter Munro, this wine will last for some time in your cellar, but I think it is showing wonderfully right now.

Released this Saturday, the 4th of November.

Honestly, you just have to try this, as I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)