Bush vine grenache 850 360 c1

James Halliday Grenache Challenge


The sixth annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) tasted and benchmarked a record 160 Grenache wines from around Australia, celebrating the strength and diversity of the variety.

Proudly hosted by the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association each October, the Challenge tastes and benchmarks Grenache wines from across Australia, encouraging an honest gauge of our country's Grenache winemaking form and recognising styles and movements developing across the industry.

In what was a tight race, Mandoon Estate from WA’s Swan Valley was awarded the top spot for its 2021 Mandoon Estate Discovery Series Grenache.

2022 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair of Judges Andrew Thomas praised the compelling quality of entries showcasing a range of diverse styles and the continued evolution of Grenache wines.

“The rise and rise of Australian Grenache can be witnessed by another year of record entries for the 2022 James Halliday Grenache Challenge” said Mr Thomas. “Wines from South Australia dominated the entries and the also the Gold medals awarded, however it was a wine from the Swan Valley, WA that got the nod from the judges as the most outstanding wine of the competition.”

“The entries showcased a range of diverse styles with the most compelling wines demonstrating the continued evolution of the style, showing bright florals and red fruit aromatics combined with a deliciously savoury texture and bright acidity. It is clear that the 2021 vintage was particularly well suited to this more contemporary style with the majority of the top wines hailing from this vintage.”

Mr Thomas praised the Mandoon Estate 2021 Discovery Series Grenache as displaying “a compelling vitality, intensity and concentration all within a light to medium weight frame, finishing with a bright acidity and impeccable fine chalky tannins. Special mention must also go to the two runners-up wines, the Peter Lehmann Wines 2021 The Barossan Grenache and the Serafino 2021 Reserve Grenache from McLaren Vale.”

View the full list of results for the 2022 James Halliday Grenache Challenge here.

The fifth annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) gathered varietal grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate and elevate the variety.

The Challenge invited producers from all Australian wine regions to participate, encouraging an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form and to catch the styles and movements developing across the landscape.

Barossa's Krondorf Wines has been named 2021 James Halliday Grenache Challenge winner for its 2020 Founders View Barossa Grenache.

2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair of Judges, Tony Love was impressed with the diversity of grenache expression.

“The 2021 James Halliday Grenache Challenge was a showcase of one of the country's most loved wine varieties at the height of its powers," said Mr Love.

"A highlight of the Challenge was to witness the diversity of Grenache expression, from juicy, lighter, easy drinking styles to bolder and more robust iterations. All variations are, of course, legitimate, while the finest of the entries created plenty of enthusiastic interest from all three panels of judges.

"After a rigorous day of assessment, the winner emerged from the highest quality selection of finalists after displaying attractive varietal aromatic characters with a sense of power, yet elegantly controlled and balanced. A superb example of South Australian Grenache."

The Challenge received a record 146 Grenache entries across a diverse range of Australian winegrowing regions.

Renowned wine critic and writer, James Halliday AM highlights McLaren Vale and the Barossa as champion grenache producing regions.

"Grenache has come in from the cold in no uncertain fashion. One statistic speaks louder than words. In 2010 the average price per tonne was $575; this year (2021) it averaged $1256 per tonne. Its geographic spread has also increased, but two regions dominate: the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in a multitude of styles. It’s also exciting to see 2021 wines starting to appear, with more to come," said Mr Halliday.

Please click here for the full results.