Wine on

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 12:00am

Grenache blends from Barossa Valley,

South Australia

Miss Harry 2001, $158

One of the many delights of South Australia is the way vintners blend grape varieties to achieve precisely the colour, tone, aroma and flavour they want. This example has grenache, shiraz and mourvedre, and the result is wonderful. Who's Miss Harry? I don't have a clue, and after tasting this wine from the noted Hewitson estate, you won't care. Some of the vines used to source this fruit are 100 years old. They give an amazing intensity to the hue and taste; on the palate, there's a generosity of plum and strawberry. I had a glass of this in ToTT's Bar at the Excelsior Hotel. It was so delightful I bought a couple of bottles to have with a steak barbecue. Kedington Wines: 2898 9323

Kurtz Family Boundary Row 2000, $190

One of the glories of the grenache grape is that it's user-friendly; you can blend it with almost any other red variety with excellent results. This wine usually sells for $272 but it is on special offer to Post readers. I reeled with delight when I tasted this chocolatey, spicy wine. Leave it out to breathe and it develops an intensity of taste. This premium wine includes some shiraz, which makes for complexity, but the typical grenache warmth shines through. I tried this at the Everwise Cellar Club in Wellington Street where they have free tastings on Saturday afternoons. Then I bought a bottle and rushed home for a lamb chop dinner. Everwise Trading: 2751 8568

Charles Melton Nine Popes 1999, $328

Here again you have that classic blend of the Southern Rhone - grenache, shiraz and mourvedre. And it's no coincidence that this Nine Popes label tastes like a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape: it was deliberately modelled on that gorgeous area of France. The amiable style of soft grenache is stiffened by the spice of shiraz. This is a bit pricey for me but the quality is outstanding. A friend invited me to dinner, and when I found out he was cooking rabbit with a mustard sauce

I splurged on this bottle. Wine 'n' Things: 2873 5733