A South Australian Grenache has made history by becoming the first Australian drop to be awarded the International Grenache Trophy in the prestigious International Wine Challenge (IWC).
The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache 2020 is also a keenly priced drop – it’s currently available at Dan Murphy’s for $13 for My Dan’s members (normally $14.99).
The International Wine Challenge is accepted as the world’s most rigorous, impartial and influential wine competition. It assesses every wine ‘blind’ and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage.
“Globally, Grenache is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties but it has not always been popular in Australia,” International Wine Challenge Co-chair Jamie Goode said.
“In recent years, it has experienced a resurgence thanks to winemakers switching their focus towards lighter styles which are becoming increasingly sought-after worldwide. It is great to see Australia take the trophy for the first time this year.”
This is the first time an Australian Grenache has been awarded the trophy in the wine competition’s 39-year-history. The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache 2020 wine was also awarded two other trophies in the IWC for best South Australian Grenache and Australian Red.
Winemaker Mark ‘Jamo’ Jamieson created the wine exclusively for Dan Murphy’s and BWS. ‘Jamo’ crafted the winning wine using grapes grown in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, where the best Australian Grenache is considered to be grown due to the region’s warm climate and old vines.
“I could barely believe the news when I heard about The Ethereal One being awarded the International Grenache Trophy. What an absolute honour to be acknowledged at the world’s most distinguished wine competition, I’m beyond stoked,” he said.
“Grenache is a wine that was for a long time overlooked and underestimated, but it is definitely having a moment with more and more Australians falling in love with this flavoursome wine. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is definitely the time.”
Dan Murphy’s parent company Endeavour Group said it has seen an increase in sales of Grenache in the last 12 months.
“Even though Grenache is one of the world’s most planted grape varieties, and Australia has some of the oldest Grenache vines, we are seeing a modern renaissance of how Australian Grenache is being made, in particular in McLaren Vale. The quality of Australian Grenache at the moment is outstanding, so it’s no surprise that this wine variety keeps winning at wine shows in Australia and across the world,” said Endeavour Group Head of Fine Wine Andrew Shedden.
Often called a ‘warm climate Pinot Noir’, Grenache is a fruit-forward medium-bodied wine. The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache shows red and blackberry aromas and fruit flavours balanced with integrated oak and smooth tannins on the finish.
Australian wines triumph at IWC
Australia was awarded an impressive 54 Gold Medals in this year’s competition, coming second only to France.
In addition to the win by The Ethereal One Fleurieu Grenache 2020, Tasmania burnished its reputation as one of the nation’s leading wine producing regions with the Australian Sparkling Trophy once again awarded to the House of Arras, for its EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2006. The region has now triumphed in this category for every one of the last 10 years.
The Australian White Trophy also went to a Tasmanian producer, with Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 also claiming both the Australian and Tasmanian Chardonnay Trophies.
French wines reign supreme once more
France continued its winning streak as the most awarded country in each medal category, with 75 Gold, 367 Silver and 442 Bronze medals.
The Champagne region alone picked up 30 Golds, with Rare Champagne claiming the prestigious Champagne Trophy for its Rare Millésime 2008. Rhône producer Maison Delas Frères succeeded in reclaiming the International Syrah Trophy from New Zealand for the first time in almost a decade for its Les Bessards 2019 and France also retained the International Pinot Noir Trophy for a seventh year in a row. The winning wine, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Cyrot Chaudron Hospices de Beaune 2020, from Burgundy producer, Maison Albert Bichot, was also crowned with this trophy last year for its 2019
International Wine Challenge Co-chair Sam Caporn MW said: “Once again we have been reminded of the outstanding quality of the wines produced in the French regions of Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône. Wines from these regions have a long history of performing well in the Challenge.”
New Zealand back on top with the grape that made it famous
After being pipped to the post for two years running, New Zealand reclaimed the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy this year, with Yealands Estate Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2021 scooping the prize.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc shone in this year’s Challenge, winning three of the five Gold Medals that went to wines made from this grape variety. New Zealand was also recognised for its world-class Chardonnay, being awarded the International Chardonnay Trophy for the very first time, a category that has traditionally been dominated by French wines.
The top performing wine was the Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2020 from Hawke’s Bay producer Trinity Hill Wines.
“In this year’s results, more than 20 countries were recognised for their Sauvignon Blanc wines and so competition for this trophy is becoming increasingly stiff. New Zealand winemakers will be particularly pleased with the results this year, having lost out to Austria last year and South Africa the year before,’ explained IWC Co-chair Tim Atkin MW.
The full list of medal and trophy winners in the 2022 International Wine Challenge can be viewed here.