I think of Yelland & Papps as something of a Grenache specialist, something that isn’t necessarily reflected in its portfolio of wines. Indeed, all the usual red suspects are equally represented; the reason why I associate this variety with this producer is that I feel there is a special synergy between the two. This reserve-level wine is a great case in point. As significant as is the companion Shiraz, this is quite a different wine in the glass, more fruit-focused and hedonistic.
The oak intrudes at first, throwing coffee grounds into your face as you smell the wine, but (unlike with the Shiraz) these notes develop quickly and fold back into an aroma profile that is lusciously typical: red fruits, a medicinal note, some confection. The curse of cheap Grenache can be an overly sweet fruit character, akin to boiled lollies and, for me, quite unattractive. While this wine hints at that character, it escapes completely its destructive side, expressing an altogether denser, though still bright, set of flavours.
The palate’s structure and mouthfeel are notable. There’s a sense of freshness here, thanks in part to an acid line that is firm and textural (though somewhat disconnected at this stage). Tannins are soft and quite plush, seeming to disappear into the density of the wine’s mouthfeel at some points. That’s not a bad thing; this is a big wine in the mouth, rounded and smooth, and I like how the tannins simply add stuffing rather than create contrast. Flavours are again utterly typical and gorgeously delicious. I guess when you have 130 year old vines to play with, it makes sense to highlight what they bring by way of fruit and structure, rather than to smother the fruit with winemaking artifice. Not minimal intervention so much as a sensitivity to what makes this particular wine special.
Stylistically, this probably represents what Australia is often criticised for making, but there’s a legitimacy to these fruit-driven Barossa wines, especially when the fruit is clearly this good. I liked it a lot.
Yelland & Papps